Zimbabwe Launches the Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action and adopts the Blue Heart Campaign

29 July 2016 - The Government of Zimbabwe launched its Trafficking in Person National Plan of Action (hereafter "NAPLAC") and adopted the Blue Heart Campaign on the occasion of the commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in the capital, Harare.  UNODC, working in partnership with the SADC Secretariat and IOM provided technical assistance to the government of Zimbabwe in the development of the NAPLAC.


From February 2016 to date, the country has been affected by trafficking in persons at an unprecedented scale, with an estimated 200 victims trafficked to Kuwait, and just over 101 repatriated to date.  Therefore the launch of the NAPLAC happened at a significant juncture in the country's response to trafficking in persons.

The commemoration began with a Blue Heart Campaign march across the city of Harare with approximately 1000 participants, including students from 6 high schools, accompanied by the police band and drum majorettes.


This was followed by an official ceremony presided over by the Vice President of Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, as represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Simbarashe Mbengegwi.  The ceremony was attended by 5 other cabinet ministers from key stakeholder ministries, permanent secretaries and other senior government officials, parliamentarians, key commissions (such as the Gender Commission and the Human Rights Commission), the diplomatic community, UN agencies, international agencies, civil society organisations, students and members of the general public. 

During his keynote address, the Vice President of Zimbabwe, acknowledged the technical support provided to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Trafficking in Persons by UNODC, IOM and SADC Secretariat in the development of the NAPLAC.  He also discussed the significance of the day as one to raise awareness on the plight of victims of trafficking in persons and to promote and protect their rights.  He emphasised importance of the different stakeholders working together to achieve the objectives of the NAPLAC. 

The Minister of Home Affairs, Hon Ignatius Chombo, whose Ministry is the custodian of the trafficking in persons legislation, unpacked the National Plan of Action in his presentation, demonstrating how it was hinged on the four pillars of intervention - namely prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership. In his remarks he expressed his yearning that the plan be effectively i mplemented and that information on trafficking in persons reaches the grassroots levels.

Thereafter, UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe delivered the UN Secretary General's address on the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.  The IOM Country Director also made remarks, highlighting the vulnerability of migrants to traffickers during their movements across borders.  This was followed by remarks by the Head of the SADC Gender Unit around the SADC Strategic Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons who lauded Zimbabwe's commitment to a national response to TIP and emphasised the importance of multi-sectoral response.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was represented by Ms Samantha Munodawafa, Regional Legal Advisor: Trafficking in Persons.  During her remarks, she related how victim protection and dealing with root causes of trafficking featured prominently during the deliberations of the NAPLAC.

The launch of the NAPLAC is one of the first steps in the journey towards implementation of the country's obligations under the Palermo Protocol.  It is hoped that Zimbabwe will make good its commitments as outlined in the NAPLAC and become a forerunner in the SADC region in this regard.