Trafficking Risk in Sub-Saharan African Supply Chains

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Tanzania Country Overview


Tanzania is a constitutional presidential republic in Eastern Africa. Tanzania transitioned from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy in the early 1990s. Despite this transition, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has remained the dominant political party controlling the Presidency and the majority of seats in the National Assembly. Although Zanzibar is part of the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar holds its own elections to elect a President and legislature that governs internal matters. The last elections held in 2015 in Tanzania and Zanzibar were judged to be largely free and fair.[1] However, the Electoral Commission of Zanzibar nullified the election results, generating a political crisis. New elections were held in March of 2016, which were reportedly neither inclusive nor representative.[2]


Tanzania is classified by the World Bank as a low income economy, with a per capita GDP of USD 1,813 in 2016. Based on GDP per capita, Tanzania ranks 23rd among the 45 sub-Saharan countries.[3] However, tourism and vast natural resources helped grow GDP between 2009 and 2016, with average annual growth of 6 to 7 percent. The country has largely completed a transition to a market economy.[4] With a population of 52 million, the workforce has 27 million people.[5]

The Tanzanian economy is heavily based on agriculture, which accounts for more than 25 percent of gross domestic product, provides 85 percent of exports, and employs two-thirds of the population.[6] However, farmers do not own their own land; instead, the government leases land to farmers for up to 99 years.[7] Services produce 47 percent of GDP and employ 27 percent of the population. Industry and construction employ the remaining 28 percent of the workforce.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rose steadily from 2010 to 2014, peaking in 2014 at USD 2.1 billion—significantly higher than the USD 640 million FDI during the 2005 to 2007 period.[8] FDI is focused 60 percent in manufacturing, 31 percent in services, seven percent in agriculture and mining, and 2 percent in electricity, water and construction.[9] Exports reached USD six billion in 2016, primarily in gold, coffee, cashew nuts, and manufactured goods.

Social/Human Development

Tanzania ranks in the low category of the Human Development Index with an HDI value in 2015 of 0.531, positioning it at 151 out of 188 included countries. Since 1990 however, life expectancy at birth increased by 15.5 years, and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by roughly 74.1 percent.[10] The U.S. Department of State reports HIV as the main source of adult mortality, ranking Tanzania fourth worldwide for HIV deaths in 2015. Human rights abuses have been reported that include death and injury from the use of excessive force by security forces; restrictions in political expression and right to assemble; and violence based on gender, including domestic violence, rape, and female genital mutilation.[11]

U.S. Department of State TIP Report Summary (2019)

U.S. Department of State TIP Ranking: Tier 2 Watch List

Trafficking or trafficking risk is reported in potentially exported sectors including agriculture and mining. Children in Tanzania are vulnerable to trafficking on farms as herders and hunters, as well as in mines and quarries, and on fishing vessels.

Migrant and Other Vulnerable Populations

Tanzania has net negative migration.[12] Approximately 0.49 percent of the total resident population is migrants.[13] The largest source countries for migrants traveling to Tanzania are Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and India.[14]

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) there are 458,828 total persons of concern, including 281,498 refugees and 8,539 asylum seekers.[15] Refugees in Tanzania are primarily from Burundi, where political tensions have led over 158,000 Burundians to flee to Tanzania since mid-2015. The total refugee population in Northwestern Tanzania has reached over 220,000 refugees. Mtendeli and Nduta, formerly closed camps, have been reopened to decrease the burden on Nyarugusu, the main receiving camp.[16]

Exports and Trade

Tanzania’s top exports in 2016 include gold, tobacco, ores, coffee, and vegetables.[17]
According to mirror data, the top importers of goods from Tanzania include India, Switzerland, China, Belgium, and Germany.[18]

Trafficking in Persons Risk Factors Analysis

Legal/Policy Risk Factors


Freedom of Association

Tanzanian labor law allows for workers to form and join unions, bargain collectively, and conduct strikes. Workers whose jobs are considered to be of “national service” and prison guards are exempt from these protections. Trade unions are required to have a minimum of 20 workers, and public-sector unions must have a minimum of 30. Five organizations are required to form a federation. Unions must submit financial information and membership registries annually and obtain government approval for association with international unions. In order to conduct a legal strike a union must submit three separate letters of intent, submit to a waiting period of at least 92 days, and carry out a union vote on the strike in the presence of a Ministry Labor representative that garners “yes” votes from at least 75 percent of the union membership. Employees in “essential services” sectors (water, sanitation, electricity, health services, telecommunications, etc.) can only strike if they have come to an agreement with their employer to maintain “minimum services” during the period of the strike.[19]

In Zanzibar, the labor code requires that any union with 50 or more members to register with the government, and Zanzabari workers are prohibited from joining unions on the mainland. Workers in sectors deemed “essential” are not permitted to strike, and workers in other sectors must provide a 14-day notice of intent to strike. A strike may only be carried out if mediation authorities are given a minimum of 30 days to attempt to resolve the dispute.[20]

Working Conditions

The Tanzanian government established a minimum wage law in 2015, which splits the labor force into 9 sectors and provides a minimum wage for each sector individually. The lowest minimum wage is for domestic workers who reside in the residence of their employers, and amounts to TZS 40,000 (USD 18) a month. The highest minimum wage is for workers in the telecommunications, mining, energy, and financial sectors, and is set at TZS 400,000 (USD180) per month. These laws cover foreign and migrant workers. The minimum wage in Zanzibar is set at TZS 145,000 (USD 65) per month.

There are no set legal penalties for employers who violate workers’ rights, and there is reportedly not a sufficient regulatory environment to monitor the treatment of workers in the country. There are no exceptions for foreign or migrant workers in the labor code. Over 50 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in the informal sector, where legal protections are even weaker for workers.[21]


Tanzanian labor law prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, nationality, tribe or place of origin, race, national extraction, social origin, political opinion or religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, marital status or family responsibility disability, HIV/AIDS, age, or station in life. The law does not address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, language, citizenship, or communicable disease status. According to the U.S. Department of State, the government does not effectively enforce labor law addressing discrimination. [22] Discrimination against migrant workers remains a key issue, and migrant workers reportedly find it difficult to find documented work outside of the informal sector. Women also face workplace discrimination in employment, pay, and promotions. Due to discrimination in hiring practices, women are disproportionally employed in the informal sector, or in hazardous positions. Women reportedly face sexual harassment, bullying, and threats in the workplace. This discrimination and abuse largely goes unpunished by the Tanzanian government.[23]

Forced Labor

Tanzanian law prohibits any form of forced or compulsory labor, with the exception of prisoners working on construction or agricultural projects within correctional facilities. This work cannot be for the benefit of a private entity.[24]

Child Labor

Tanzanian labor law prohibits children under the age of 14 from working, and children between 14 and 18 are prohibited from engaging in work that is dangerous, or likely to affect their development or performance in school. In practice, these laws are rarely enforced, and child labor remains prevalent in the fishing, agricultural, mining, and domestic work sectors. According to one Tanzanian government ministry, an estimated 4,231,000 children (29 percent) are engaged in child labor.[25]

Civil Society Organizations

Tanzania currently has a variety of international and domestic human rights NGOs working within its borders, and the government is generally cooperative and receptive to their views.[26]

Immigration Policies Limiting the Employment Options or Movement of Migrants

Foreign workers have recently been subjected to “special permit inspections” in which labor authorities conduct random checks of migrant workers’ documentation. In early 2017, the Commissioner of Labor required that all foreign workers in Tanzania bring their documents to the nearest labor office for inspection.[27]

Ratification of ILO Conventions Related to Human Trafficking or Rights of Workers and Migrants


Political Risk Factors


Tanzania scores an 80.3 on the 2016 Fragile States Index, ranking it 65th out of 178 countries. This score represents an improvement of 1.5 points from the previous year.[29]


According to the UNODC, Tanzania has a homicide rate of 12.7 homicides per 100,000 persons, above the African average.[30]


The Transparency International 2016 Corruption Perception Index scores Tanzania as a 32 out of 100, where a 0 signals “Highly Corrupt” and a 100 signals “Very Clean.” Tanzania is ranked 116 out of 176 on that index.[31] According to the U.S. Department of State, corruption “remains a major concern” for businesses operating in the country, and prosecution of corruption cases is rare.[32]

Socio-Economic Risk Factors


Tanzania scores a 0.531 on the UNDP’s 2016 Human Development Index (HDI), ranking the country 151st. When adjusted for inequality, Tanzania’s HDI score falls to 0.396.[33]


According to the UNDP, 66.4 percent of the Tanzanian population lives in multidimensional poverty, with an additional 21.5 percent of the population living near multidimensional poverty.[34]


Although the constitution prohibits gender-based discrimination, this is not supported by enacted legislation.[35] Women are reportedly discriminated against in matters dealing with marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Women also have difficulty accessing credit and experienced discrimination in relation to employment and pay, especially in the informal sector.[36] 


Large-scale land acquisition remains a major issue in Tanzania, and according to the Oakland Institute, there are a variety of foreign-funded agricultural projects currently underway that amount to land grabs. Many of these deals lack transparency, and there have reportedly been few tangible benefits afforded to those who have lost their land.[37] Under Tanzanian law, all land belongs to the state.[38]


The main environmental concerns in Tanzania are soil degradation, deforestation, ivory poaching, and the destruction of marine habitats.[39]

Documented Trafficking and Trafficking Risk in Key Commodity Supply Chains



Tanzania is Africa’s fourth largest gold producing country,[40] extracting approximately 40 tons of gold each year.[41] The World Bank estimates that there are over one million people involved in illegal or small-scale artisan mining operations in the country.[42] Small-scale mines are usually leased by pit holders.[43]


The U.S. Department of State notes trafficking in the mining sector, but does not specify which type of mineral.[44] Human Rights Watch has extensively documented hazardous child labor in artisanal gold mining in Tanzania. According to Human Rights Watch, children work in mine pits for up to 24 hours at a time; they transport bags of ore, crush ore, and process gold with mercury. Mercury poisoning is a risk to children involved, as well as citizens of mining areas. Human Rights Watch also noted commercial sexual exploitation of girls around mining areas.



As of 2012, there were 155,527 hectares of land dedicated to the cultivation of the tobacco.[45] A 2013 report reported that over 70,000 farmers rely on tobacco cultivation for the majority of their income.[46]



Child labor in tobacco production has been noted in Tanzania.[47] A study by the ILO found that children as young as five were engaged in child labor in the tobacco sector.[48]



Coffee accounts for 2.6 percent of Tanzanian exports and earns the country USD 171 million annually. The main countries which import Tanzanian coffee are Japan (24 percent), the United States (16 percent), Italy (15 percent), and Germany (11 percent).[49] There are approximately 400,000 smallholder farmers who produce about 90 percent of the country’s coffee. In the 2015-2016 growing season, the country produced 1.2 million bags of coffee.[50]


The U.S. Department of Labor’s 2016 List of Goods Made with Forced Labor and Child Labor indicates that coffee is produced with child labor in Tanzania.[51] Children in coffee production in Tanzania primarily work on family farms, neighboring small farms, and estates.[52]

Related Resources

Resources for Understanding Legal and Policy-Related Risk Factors


[1] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[2] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[3] International Monetary Fund. Gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita GDP.

[4] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. Country Profile: Tanzania.

[5] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. Country Profile: Tanzania. CIA World Factbook

[6] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. Country Profile: Tanzania. CIA World Factbook

[7] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. Country Profile: Tanzania.

[8] Tanzania Investment Centre, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment

[9] Tanzania Investor Survey Report, United Nations, Industrial Development Organization, 2014.

[10] UNDP. Briefing note for countries on the 2016 Human Development Report:
Tanzania (United Republic of).

[11] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[12] The World Bank. Net migration. World Bank

[13] International Office on Migration. World Migration Data.

[14] International Office on Migration. World Migration Data.

[15] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). UNHCR Population Statistics Database.

[16] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). United Republic of Tanzania.

[17] International Trade Center. Trade Map.

[18] International Trade Center. Trade Map.

[19] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[20] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[21] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[22] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[23] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[24] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[25] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[26] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[27] U.S. Department of State. Investment Climate Statements. Tanzania.

[28] International Labour Organization. Ratifications for Tanzania.

[29] Fund for Peace. Fragile States Index.

[30] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Global Homicide Study. 2014.

[31] Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index. 2016.

[32] U.S. Department of State. Investment Climate Statements. Tanzania.

[33] United Nations Development Programme. Country Profiles. Tanzania.

[34] United Nations Development Programme. Country Profiles. Tanzania.


[36] U.S. Department of State. Human Rights Report. Tanzania. 2016.

[37] Oakland Institute. Country Report: Tanzania.

[38] Tanzania – Right to Private Ownership and Establishment.  October 2016.

[39] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. Country Profile: Tanzania.

[40] Reuters. “Collapse of illegal Tanzanian gold mine kills 19 people.” April 17, 2015.

[41] Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy. Overview of the mining sector.

[42] The World Bank. “Innovative Small-Scale Mining Initiative Kicks Off in Tanzania.” November 2014.

[43] Human Rights Watch. Tanzania: Hazardous Life of Child Gold Miners. August 2013.

[44] U.S. Department of State. 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, Tanzania. 2017.

[45] The Tobacco Atlas. Land Devoted to Growing Tobacco.

[46] Sumila, Veneranda. “Report reviews status of tobacco production.” The Citizen. November 2013.

[47] U.S. Department of Labor. 2016 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. 2016.

[48] International Labour Organization. Rapid Assessment on Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Communities in Tabora Region, Tanzania. 2016.—africa/—ro-addis_ababa/—ilo-dar_es_salaam/documents/publication/wcms_517519.pdf.

[49] The Observatory of Economic Complexity: OEC. Where does Tanzania export coffee to?

[50] USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Tanzania: 2016 Annual Coffee Report. May 2016.

[51] U.S. Department of Labor. 2016 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. 2016.

[52] U.S. Department of Labor. Situation Analysis on Child Labor in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. 2011.

Trafficking Risk in Sub-Saharan African Supply Chains

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