The International Organization for Migration says human trafficking is a serious problem in Tanzania. The agency has launched a three-month nationwide campaign aimed at informing vulnerable people of the risks they run if they fall prey to smuggling networks. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from IOM headquarters in Geneva.
The International Organization for Migration says trafficking in Tanzania is both internal and international, but most of the cases occur within the country.
Spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy tells VOA most of the victims are young boys and girls that are trafficked from rural to urban areas.
"They are routinely abused and exploited either as domestic workers or working in commercial agriculture, in some cases, in fishing and mining industries," said Jean-Philippe Chauzy. "We also know that trafficking occurs internationally and we know that Tanzanian women and children are usually trafficked for sexual exploitation, for labor exploitation into the broad southern African region, mostly South Africa, but also as far afield as the Middle East and Europe."
Chauzy says Tanzania also is becoming a transit country for victims of trafficking from the Horn of Africa who are taken to South Africa.
As part of the three -month campaign, public services announcements are being broadcast on 14 TV and radio stations on mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Posters, brochures, calendars, stickers, T-shirts and caps are also being distributed in areas of high visibility.
Chauzy says leading Tanzanian performers, including Banana Zorro and Flora Mbasha will give a concert in the capital, Dar es Salaam, in support of the campaign.
He says little is known about how the trafficking network operates in Tanzania. But, he says, it appears to be following a pattern similar to that found in other regions of Africa and in the broader world.
"A trafficker can be someone in the village, someone who will be trusted, unfortunately, by people who wish to emigrate - either to go to urban areas or further afield to other countries in the region," said Chauzy. "What happens usually is that the first person who manages to convince the migrant to leave the village will then pass on or resell the victim of trafficking to various intermediaries."
Trafficking in humans is a multi-billion-dollar global trade. The International Organization for Migration says unlike other crimes, such as trading in illicit drugs, trafficking tends to be under-reported.
IOM says trafficking flourishes because the profits are high and the risks are low. It notes there are few laws on the books against trafficking. And, where legislation exists, it usually is not enforced.