The government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts. The 2008 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed punishments of two to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine between 5 million and 100 million Tanzania shilling (TZS) ($2,170 to $43,440), or both for offenses involving adult victims, and 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine between 5 million and 150 million TZS ($2,170 to $65,160), or both for those involving child victims. These penalties were sufficiently stringent, but, with regard to sex trafficking, by allowing a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the penalties were not commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, the government enacted amendments to the 2008 anti-trafficking law. The amendments criminalized attempted trafficking and required some trafficking cases to be tried in the High Court. The 2008 anti-trafficking law contained a separate procedural provision that required police to obtain a warrant before making a trafficking-related arrest; this provision created a higher threshold for law enforcement that does not exist for other similarly serious crimes, which may hinder prosecution efforts. The government reportedly drafted an amendment to the 2008 anti-trafficking act to remove the option of a fine in lieu of imprisonment; however, the amendment had not been sent to Parliament at the end of the reporting period.
The government did not maintain a centralized law enforcement data system on trafficking crimes, hindering the government’s ability to disaggregate national human trafficking statistics. The government investigated 113 trafficking cases, a significant increase compared with 19 investigations during the previous reporting period. The government initiated seven prosecutions involving 18 alleged traffickers under the 2008 anti-trafficking law, compared with 18 alleged traffickers prosecuted in the previous reporting period. The government convicted 13 traffickers, compared with three convictions in the prior year. Of the 13 convictions, courts sentenced one trafficker to one year imprisonment; one trafficker to two years’ imprisonment or a 5 million TZS ($2,170) fine; ten traffickers to two years imprisonment or a 500,000 TZS ($220) fine; and one trafficker to one year imprisonment or a 500,000 TZS ($220) fine. The failure to sentence many convicted traffickers consistent with the 2008 anti-trafficking weakened deterrence, may have undercut broader efforts to hold traffickers accountable, and did not adequately address the nature of the crime. Courts dismissed or withdrew three cases due to inability to gather sufficient evidence, and one case remained pending at the end of the reporting period. Officials did not disaggregate data to distinguish between sex and labor trafficking cases. In some cases, families or village elders continued to settle many criminal allegations, possibly including sex trafficking and child domestic servitude, informally through traditional means without recourse to the formal criminal justice system.
The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking crimes; however, corruption and official complicity in trafficking crimes remained significant concerns, inhibiting law enforcement action during the year. The government did not provide updates on investigations into five police officers for complicity in human trafficking initiated during the previous reporting period. Although not explicitly reported as human trafficking, the UN reported there were two new allegations submitted in 2021 of alleged sexual exploitation with trafficking indicators by Tanzanian peacekeepers deployed to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). UN investigations into both allegations were pending at the end of the reporting period, and the government had not yet reported accountability actions taken, if any. Investigations and accountability actions also remained pending for similar allegations reported in previous years, including two in 2020, one in 2019, and two in 2018.
The government, both independently and in partnership with international organizations, trained law enforcement officials, immigration officials, social welfare officers, and magistrates on trafficking trends and vulnerabilities, victim-centered investigations and prosecutions, and victim identification. Despite these trainings, observers reported officials’ limited understanding of trafficking hampered law enforcement efforts and led to some potential trafficking crimes being misidentified and prosecuted as migrant smuggling or kidnapping. The government continued to collaborate with the Government of Botswana to arrange for three Tanzanian witnesses to testify against an alleged Tanzanian trafficker in a child trafficking case in Botswana; courts convicted the trafficker in December 2021.