Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will.
The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people. Then, that control is tied to inducing someone into commercial sex acts, or labor or services. Numerous people in the field have summed up the concept of human trafficking as “compelled service.” Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world.
Human trafficking is a market-based phenomenon driven by two primary factors: low-risk and high-profit and it can be eliminated by reaching a tipping point where human trafficking becomes a high-risk, low-profit endeavor.
Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The incidence of internal trafficking is higher than that of transnational trafficking, and is usually facilitated by family members, friends, or intermediaries who offer assistance with education or finding lucrative employment in urban areas.
The exploitation of young girls in domestic servitude continues to be Tanzania’s largest human trafficking problem, though cases of child trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation are increasing along the Kenya-Tanzania border. Girls are exploited in sex trafficking in tourist areas within the country. Boys are subjected to forced labor, primarily on farms, but also in mines, in the informal commercial sector, in the sex trade, and possibly on small fishing boats. Smaller numbers of Tanzanian children and adults are trafficked—often by other Tanzanians—into conditions of domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sex trafficking in other countries, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and possibly other African, Middle Eastern, and European countries.
Trafficking victims from other countries—typically children from Burundi and Kenya, as well as adults from Bangladesh, Nepal, Yemen, and India—are forced to work in Tanzania’s agricultural, mining, and domestic service sectors; some are also subjected to sex trafficking. Citizens of neighboring countries may voluntarily migrate through Tanzania before being forced into domestic service and prostitution in South Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.