Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zambia: Breaking the Chains of Human Trafficking through Sports and Economic Empowerment


“Sport has the power to unite people in a way little else can. It breaks down racial barriers, it laughs in the face of all kinds of discrimination. Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand.”

--Nelson Mandela, late former President of South Africa, 2000


Guest Post By: Francis Chivuta
Country Coordinator, National Freedom Network - Zambia

Zambia was until the four decades ago one of the most prosperous countries in Sub - Saharan Africa, but has been ranked in recent years as one of the least Developed Countries. The levels of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, illiteracy and the HIV/AIDS levels amongst vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, remain significantly high in Africa and more especially the Sub-Saharan Africa. In rural Zambia, it is estimated that about 83% of the inhabitants are poor, 71% of whom are classified as extremely poor. The rural population faces a number of bottlenecks that constrain their fuller, more positive integration into the productive sector, FinScope (2009). These factors exacerbate the prevalence of human trafficking.

Zambia is affected by human trafficking as a source, transit and to a lesser extent destination country. Regionally countries in the Southern African region are considered ‘source’ countries from which victims are recruited or obtained or ‘transit’ countries through which traffickers transport their victims en route to their destination in South Africa which is considered to be the primary destination or receiving country in the region.

“We aim to equip a new generation of transformational 
leaders who will bring about transformation 
in all sectors of Zambia”
-- National Freedom Network

Zambia’s poverty and unemployment levels create an environment where individuals are easily deceived into accepting promises by human traffickers without realizing the full extent of the conditions in which they will work. Besides international trafficking, evidence suggests that the most common form of trafficking in Zambia is that of internal trafficking of women and children, for purposes of exploitation in domestic labour, farm labour, fishing, illegal mining and commercial sex. A recent study carried out by the UNJPHT into child trafficking and domestic work found strong correlation between internal trafficking and exploitative domestic work situations, with orphaned children being particularly vulnerable.

1.       POVERTY (the major push factor)
2.      Unemployment
3.       HIV & AIDS
4.      Gender roles & norms
5.      Education
6.      Climate Change

1.      Demand for cheap labour
2.       Demand for sexual services
3.      Porous borders

The link between Poverty, gender inequality and HIV/AIDS is inseparable. Gender-based violence (gbv) infringes upon the rights of women and girls and diminishes their abilities to protect themselves against HIV. The GBV is a result of unequal power relations between men and women and a reflection of the low status and negative attitudes towards women. According to a GIDD report 2 of 2000 violence against women and children is linked strongly to the socio-economic situation of the households where such violence takes place, with a high correlation between GBV and poverty.


These children have abandoned school and resorted to selling goods as bread winners, with no parents to take care of them due to HIV/AIDS                    A typical villages in Zambia                           A church

Zambia has a comprehensive legislative and policy framework to address human trafficking, comprising the Anti-Human Trafficking Act No. 11 of 2008 and the Anti-Human Trafficking Policy. The policy recognizes that trafficking violates fundamental human rights, particularly the right of every person to be free from exploitation, forced labour, and ill treatment, the right to not be held in slavery or servitude, and the right to just, fair and safe work conditions. The legal and policy framework is further operationalized through the Anti-Human Trafficking National Action Plan, with the current multiyear spanning from 2012 to 2015 in line with the timeframe and national aspirations of the Sixth National Development Plan. The national action plan highlights the national interventions that need to be implemented in the area of prevention, protection and prosecution with close collaboration of national actors to meet the national goal of addressing human trafficking.

Our strategic approach to raising awareness includes innovative concepts that aim at gauging people’s levels of understanding the issue and using this to further enhance their knowledge levels through interactive and participatory approaches. This has taught the organization the best practices and lessons for replication that have enhanced the impact of our interventions with the result of creating visible change in the lives of the hurting children, youths and women across Zambia.

Over the past four years Pastor Francis Chivuta has raised awareness in 8 Provinces of Zambia out of 10 Provinces, through the following activities with a hope to addressing human trafficking push factors:
  • Awareness raising using sports, arts and drama to school going and non school going children and youths
  • Training of Trainers on Prevention, Protection and Partnership (the 3 Ps of human trafficking) as the other ‘P’ for prosecution can only be done by the state in the Zambian context.
  • Entrepreneurship training to vulnerable youths and women as a means of fighting the extreme poverty in Zambia
  • Trauma Recovery Healing program
  • Plans are under way to include enterprise development in tailoring & design, carpentry & joinery, auto mechanics, construction, Plumbing and horticulture as a means of eradicating poverty in Zambia.
“Sport has the power to help achieve the millennium development goals; it has the power to conquer all ills of society. While we have to address climate change, food crisis, energy, human rights, if you are united as one team through sports you can win over all the conflicts. This is a part of achieving millennium development goals”. 
-- Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, 2012

"Relevancy to culture, socially inclusive, people centered and mobilizes of people. In the West the leisure culture will increasingly dominate economic activity and time. Sport is very powerful social tool. The greatest opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ is through sports. This is particularly true with the most difficult group to reach urban Youth."
-- Dr. Stowell, President of the Moody Bible Institute 1855

To support Pastor Francis Chivuta prevent human trafficking and restore broken lives, financial partnership or any kind of support can be given through the following details:

Phone:                         +260 964266763
Email:                 , or
Skype:                         francis.chivuta
Postal Office:                P. O Box 37339, Lusaka, ZAMBIA                     
Physical Address:        Plot 2337/M, Off Leopards Road, New Kasama, Lusaka, ZAMBIA

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Freedom Walk Buffalo 2014

Photos By: Priscilla K

This Saturday, 124 attendees from across Buffalo, Rochester, and Southern Ontario, including students, families, and fraternities, came together for the 2nd Annual Freedom Walk Buffalo. Attendees arrived wearing orange, the color of freedom and the United Hands of Hope House. Attendees came to learn about human trafficking and to become a voice for the voiceless.  A grand total of $504.18 was raised for United Hands of Hope House!  

"You can only sell drugs once, but you can sell a woman or a man, 30 to 40 times a day, and keep selling," 
- Karen O'Hara

The morning began with our main speaker Karen O'Hara, who shared her personal story as an overcomer of human trafficking.  She then spoke to us about the importance of being aware that human trafficking can and does occur everywhere, including small towns and suburbs. As the founder and director of United Hands of Hope House, O'Hara shared how she works to provide recovery services to domestic female survivors of human trafficking.  During her talk, she also emphasized the need for drop-in centers and safe houses to provide safety and support to victims of human trafficking in Buffalo, New York.  A young human trafficking abolitionist also spoke to us about the prevalence of grooming that is happening online to youth, through social media, such as Facebook.

Our second speaker was Deputy Elizabeth Fildes, program director of the Human Trafficking Division of the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Before she presented, she prompted us to stand up and dance merengue with each other!  After that break, Deputy Fildes began her talk and spoke about her work in the field. Through her work interviewing victims of human trafficking, she has seen how many girls trapped in sex slavery had a previous history involving abuse and/or drug addiction.  After speaking about how victims of human trafficking come to be, she spoke about traffickers and how they are now utilizing online outlets to lure victims for later sales which can also utilize online websites.  However, we learned that something can be done on our part.  Deputy Fildes stressed the importance of grants and community action to help push legislation, which will overall help protect and provide services for these victims.

Our third speaker was Rochester Police Officer Moses E. Robinson.  Officer Robinson educated us on the realities of human trafficking in our area, on the relationship between gangs and human trafficking, and how the internet is being used to lure victims of human trafficking.  Officer Robinson told us how important it is to respect everyone, especially elders, and how each of us should truly appreciate the family we have because so many people our age don't have people they feel they can trust. The most important take-away from his talk was how interrelated gangs, drugs, lack of respect, and traffickers online are.  Just like the other speakers, he told us that we can help end this by being alert of what is happening around us, online, and of the resources available to help end the slave trade.

Following these dynamic speakers, there was a question and answer session where questions on legislation and how the thriving Canadian economy will increase human trafficking in Canada and Buffalo. Then, we headed outside to raise awareness of human trafficking in the community.  

It was a cold, cloudy, and windy day.  Despite the cold wind and gloomy sky, we were out there for a reason.  We were out there because victims of slavery were and are, in this very moment, being sold and purchased against their will, regardless of the weather.  Human trafficking occurs across the world every day and every night. With this in mind, our group marched outside with our signs and information cards, shouting chants for an end to human trafficking. We also passed out informative flyers on human trafficking to passing cars and bystanders. 

"Hey! Hey!
Slavery has got to go!"

"What do we want? Freedom!"
"When do we want it? Now!"

 A few of our signs did rip because of the wind, and some of us stood close to keep warm.  As we approached the main road, many supporters honked and we responded with hearty, "horas".  As the 5km walk came to an end, we took a group picture, raising one last voice in unison.  "What do we want? Freedom!"

A huge THANK YOU to all of you who came to the 2nd Annual Freedom Walk Buffalo to become aware of the unacceptable reality that is occurring in our community and to become an advocate for change!  Thank you for standing with us, braving the weather, raising your voice, and being a fellow to humanity.  To become more involved with fighting human trafficking, please check out the links below!

Human trafficking abolition organizations in Western New York / Buffalo :

For research and resources on human trafficking nationally and internationally, check out:

Call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733)
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

May God guide you as you join in the battle against slavery,