Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in the country by building and strengthening partnerships with key stakeholders.
Speaking during the official opening of the Regional Conference on combating forced labour and human trafficking in Africa in Lusaka today, Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu says Zambia is regarded both as a source and transit country for human trafficking.
Mr. Lungu says the liberalization of the country's economy in the early 1990s saw the coming of new labour practices into the country, among them the emergency of private employment agencies.
He explains that since the inception of the private employment agencies, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has received various reports from workers whose identity documents were being withheld by these agencies.
Mr Lungu states that to speed up the process of fighting Forced Labor and human trafficking in the country, a National Policy to combat human trafficking in Zambia was developed and approved in 2007 which provides a framework for the development and implementation of comprehensive intentions in the area of trafficking prevention, Law Enforcement and victim assistance.
Speaking earlier, International Labour Organization (ILO) Acting Africa Regional Director, Hans Hofmeijer said more than eighty years after the adoption of the forced labor convention, the ILO estimates that at least twenty one million women, men and children are trapped in forced labour, many of them in the informal economy.
Speaking at the same event, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Leonard Hikaumba said there is an urgent need to find the root cause of Forced Labour and Human Trafficking in Africa in order to eliminate the vice.
And Zambia Federation of Employers President Alfred Masupha says employers world over are central in promoting descent work through effective legal compliance with various labor laws, including laws on both forced labor and human trafficking.
Meanwhile, Federation of Free Trade unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) President Joyce Nonde Simukoko says Zambia is among the African countries with high unemployment levels and most of the people are lured by forced employment or marriage offers and are trafficked to South Africa via Zimbabwe and to Europe via Malawi.