Mozambique: Traditional Healers Involved in Human Trafficking

Maputo — The Mozambican Attorney-General's Office (PGR) has accused the country's "traditional healers" of involvement in the trafficking in people and in human body parts.

Assistant Attorney-General Amabelia Chuquela, speaking at a meeting in Maputo on human trafficking on Wednesday, said the PGR had registered six cases in 2020 and eight in 2019. Of the 2020 cases, two were trafficking in people (one for forced labour and one for sexual exploitation) while the other four involved trafficking in body parts in Niassa, Nampula, Zambezia and Tete provinces.

"Human trafficking in order to remove body parts for obscurantist purposes is a reality in our country", said Chuquela. "Traditional doctors are the main users of human body parts, and many people get rich from this illicit business".

Among the victims of the traffickers are albinos, she added. Albinos are targeted, killed and then mutilated by individuals who think that potions or amulets made from the body parts of albinos have magical powers and will bring good luck.

To deal with such heinous crimes, said Chuquela, the PGR has been working to bring Mozambican legislation on human trafficking into line with international norms. As a result, the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, recently passed amendments to the Penal Code which criminalise various acts connected with human trafficking. This, she said, brings Mozambican law into line with United Nations conventions on trafficking.

Chuquela said human trafficking remains a challenge for the Mozambican authorities, due to the increasingly sophisticated techniques used by the traffickers.

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