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Ecology of Peace factual reality: 1. Earth is not flat; 2. Resources are finite; 3. When humans breed or consume above ecological carrying capacity limits, it results in resource conflict; 4. If individuals, families, tribes, races, religions, and/or nations want to reduce class, racial and/or religious local, national and international resource war conflict; they should cooperate to implement an Ecology of Peace international law social contract that restricts all the worlds citizens to breed and consume below ecological carrying capacity limits; to sustainably protect and conserve natural resources.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trafficking Body Parts in Mozambique & South Africa, Simon Fellows, Human Rights League Report, 2008






“They say the treatments with genital organs only work if they are taken from a person alive and not dead” (Customs Official, Sofala province, Mozambique) -- Trafficking Body Parts in Mozambique and South Africa, by Simon Fellows, Human Rights League, Mozambique, 2008 (PDF)
“They formed a circle and put the baby inside and started dancing. One man took the baby and holds him up and threw him on top of the rock. They cut the baby open and removed the heart and lungs. When they got home they killed the goat and used its skin to cover the parts removed from the baby and put them at the shop” -- Investigating Police Officer, Venda, South Africa


“The murderer cut her throat like she was a goat. He cut her head just like that, and removed her genital organs, leaving all the rest” -- Police Officer, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique


“He grabs me on the neck, I tried to loose myself but I couldn’t. So then he took his knife and started cutting me. Then I fainted”-- Young man attacked for his genital organs, Niassa province, Mozambique


“It is true that people become rich after a traditional treatment with human organs”
-- Traditional Healer, Manica Province, Mozambique





TRAFFICKING BODY PARTS IN MOZAMBIQUE AND SOUTH AFRICA





“They say the treatments with genital organs only work if they are taken from a person alive and not dead” (Customs Official, Sofala province, Mozambique) -- Trafficking Body Parts in Mozambique and South Africa, by Simon Fellows, Human Rights League, Mozambique, 2008 (PDF)



Simon Fellows
Human Rights League, Mozambique
simonldh@yahoo.com
2008



Please Note

This report contains accounts that some people may find disturbing. Reproduction of any part of the text is authorised, except for commercial purposes, provided the author is acknowledged. Cover Image: Reportage/Tom Stoddart Archive/Getty Images


“They formed a circle and put the baby inside and started dancing. One man took the baby and holds him up and threw him on top of the rock. They cut the baby open and removed the heart and lungs. When they got home they killed the goat and used its skin to cover the parts removed from the baby and put them at the shop”
(Investigating Police Officer, Venda, South Africa1)

“He grabs me on the neck, I tried to loose myself but I couldn’t. So then he took his knife and started cutting me. Then I fainted”
(young man attacked for his genital organs, Niassa province, Mozambique2)

“It is true that people become rich after a traditional treatment with human organs”
(Traditional Healer, Manica Province, Mozambique3)

“They say the treatments with genital organs only work if they are taken from a person alive and not dead”
(Customs Official, Sofala province, Mozambique4)

“The murderer cut her throat like she was a goat. He cut her head just like that, and removed her genital organs, leaving all the rest”
(Police Officer, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique5)

“The Police searched and found that she was carrying genital organs of adult men […] I don’t know how many exactly, it was several. But they were from adult men, I saw them myself”
(Female Stall holder at Ressano Garcia, Mozambique/South African border6)




TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • ACRONYMS
  • SUMMARY
  • RATIONALE
  • HUMAN RIGHTS LEAGUE IN MOZAMBIQUE (LDH)
  • PROJECT DEFINITION OF TRAFFICKING BODY PARTS
  • METHODOLOGY
    • RESEARCH TEAM
    • TRAINING THE RESEARCHERS
    • FIELD WORK
    • WORKSHOPS
    • SNOWBALLING AND REFERRALS
    • RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE INTERVIEWS

  • FINDINGS AND INTERVIEW SAMPLES
  • INCIDENCE AND PREVALENCE OF TRAFFICKING BODY PARTS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND
    MOZAMBIQUE
  • MACRO, INTERPERSONAL AND INDIVIDUAL FACTORS LEADING TO TRAFFICKING BODY PARTS
  • EXISTING POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES TO COUNTER TRAFFICKING BODY PARTS
  • RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY AND GOVERNMENTS
  • CONCLUSION
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY



Acknowledgements

Thanks needs to be extended to all those informants who participated in the interviews on which this research is based.

This research project would not have been possible without the following researchers:
Book Sambo – Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos Humanos
Matshidisho Ntsiuoa – Child Welfare, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Nokuthula Msimango – Childline Mpumalanga, South Africa
Priscilla Molaudzi – Childline Limpopo, South Africa
Robert Nyakudya - Childline Mpumalanga, South Africa

Special thanks goes to:
The Royal Norwegian Embassy, Maputo, Mozambique for funding this research project
Childline South Africa for their partnership during this project
Joan Van Niekerk from Childline South Africa, for her support throughout this project.
Lamese Mukadam from Childline South Africa, for her desk and field research
contributions
Ana Alexandra do Rosário and Anne Egelund Ryberg for their valuable input
Maria Alice Mabota and Alice Teresa de Sousa from Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos
Humanos
for all their help
Susana Morais Ferreira for her invaluable assistance in coordinating this project



Acronyms
AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

AMETRAMO – Associação do Médicos Tradicionais de Moçambique (Mozambique’s Traditional Healers’ Association)

CIA – Central Intelligence Agency

GDP – Gross Domestic Product

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

INAS – Instituto Nacional de Acção Social (National Institute of Social Action)

LDH – Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos Humanos (Human Right’s League, Mozambique)

MZ – Mozambique

NGO – Non-Governmental Organisations

PIC – Polícia de Investigação Criminal (Criminal Investigation Police)

PRM – Polícia da República de Moçambique (Police of the Republic of Mozambique)

SA – South Africa

SAPS – South African Police Service

UN.GIFT – United Nations – Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking

UN – United Nations

UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

UNICEF – United Nations Children's Fund

US – United States of America

USD – United States Dollar

WHO – World Health Organisation



Summary

Information on trafficking body parts has previously been based almost entirely on hearsay and has been easy for both Governments and Civil Society to claim it either does not occur or is so infrequent it does not merit any response or attention. The findings in this report however, show that regular mutilations occur both in South Africa and Mozambique and body parts are forcibly removed from children and adults causing death or severe disability.

Throughout the report, informants share personal experiences which confirm that body parts are taken across the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Through numerous accounts, both hearsay and firsthand, from Civil Society and Government institutions, the following questions are answered:
What is the incidence and prevalence of trafficking body parts in South Africa and Mozambique?

What are the macro (socio-economic, cultural, political, historical), interpersonal and individual factors that lead to trafficking body parts?

What policies and programmes are in place to counter trafficking body parts?

How can Civil Society and Governments use this information to improve their
programmes?

This report documents that body parts are frequently trafficked in South Africa and Mozambique and so-called witchdoctors, usually through a third party, actively seek human body parts from live victims to be used in their medicine. The research found that it is a commonly held belief in South Africa and Mozambique that traditional medicine, when made with body parts, is stronger and more powerful.

The report highlights that the policies and programmes in place to counter trafficking body parts are practically nonexistent. The limited policies that could be used to counter this activity are out of date and not generally enforced.

The report draws attention to the lack of an internationally recognised definition of trafficking body parts and highlights that without such a definition, any attempt to counter this activity will be impaired and these Human Rights violations will continue unabated.


Rationale

In 2007, Save the Children Norway, Mozambique Programme7, were informed by an eye witness that a number of children’s heads, appearing to be frozen and wrapped in plastic, were being taken by car across the Mozambican/South Africa border. This account alleged that Police and Customs intercepted the vehicle on South African soil. However, there were no reports in the press or Police reports8 of any investigation into these allegations.

Over the course of the following months, more accounts of body parts, including children’s heads, feet and hands being taken across the border as well as being transported within Mozambique, were presented to Save the Children Norway, Mozambique Programme.

However due to the sensitivity of this issue and the fear which appeared to surround this subject, it was difficult to substantiate any of these claims, despite a number of firsthand accounts.

It became apparent that investigation or research was necessary to respond to these allegations of trafficking body parts as no research on this issue had previously been carried out in Mozambique and South Africa. However, taking into account the fear which was evoked when asking for more detailed information from witnesses, it was clear that an alternative approach to research was needed.

The Human Rights League in Mozambique, funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Mozambique, took on a 7 month research project concerning trafficking body parts in Mozambique and South Africa.

The aim of this research project is to answer the following questions:
  1. What is the incidence and prevalence of trafficking body parts in South Africa and Mozambique?

  2. What are the macro (socio-economic, cultural, political, historical), interpersonal and individual factors that lead to trafficking body parts?

  3. What policies and programmes are in place to counter trafficking body parts?

  4. How can Civil Society and Governments use this information to improve their
    programmes?

On answering these questions, this report aims to raise awareness and provoke action in addressing the Human Rights violations connected to trafficking body parts.


Human Rights League in Mozambique (LDH)

Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos Humanos (Human Rights League in Mozambique) is a nongovernmental organisation established in 1995, dedicated to defending, protecting and promoting Human Rights.

LDH’s main objective is to promote Human Rights in Mozambique through targeted advocacy, civic education, supervision, political pressure and judicial assistance. LDH investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and helps to transform societies to create a safer and just environment by focusing attention where Human Rights are violated, ensuring that the oppressed are heard and that those responsible for Human Rights abuses are held accountable for their crimes.
Project definition of trafficking body parts

As this project is concerned with the issue of trafficking body parts, it is important to establish what is meant by this term. When establishing a definition for trafficking body parts, there are two important considerations:
  • Has the person been trafficked for the purpose of removing a body part

  • Has the body part been trafficked alone, separate from the victim

Firstly, a definition of trafficking in persons for the purpose of removing a body part will be addressed.


Trafficking in persons

The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol, 2000) provides the first internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons:
(a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. (Article 3)

The subsequent paragraph of article 3 of the Palermo Protocol provides that:
(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used.


In the Palermo Protocol, consent is irrelevant if it is obtained by means of coercion or deceit, including abuse of power without physical force. This applies to cases when individuals consent initially (e.g. to migrate or work), but are then subject to exploitation. If there is no realistic possibility of free fully informed consent or refusal, it amounts to trafficking. The question of consent is irrelevant in the case of a child, as outlined in Article 3 (c) of the Palermo Protocol:
(c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article.

According to the Palermo Protocol, exploitation may include:
  • Sexual exploitation (including the exploitation of prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, such as pornography and forced marriages)
  • Forced labour or services
  • Slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude
  • The removal of organs


Trafficking body parts

Trafficking body parts alone, separate from the victim, is not addressed in the UN Palermo Protocol. This was confirmed during the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking forum, Vienna, February 2008:
“The trafficking of organs alone, separate from the donor, is not addressed by the Protocol, given that the removal of organs does not always entail coercive elements; to constitute the crime of trafficking in persons for the purposes of organ removal, the actual person has to be transported for the purpose of removing their organs”9

One important finding in this research project is the discovery that there is no internationally recognized definition of trafficking body parts. This is supported by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice10:
“A global comparison of trafficking in human organs and tissues is constrained by the lack of a uniform definition and the absence of consistent statistics and criminal reports”.

When the person is alive and the purpose of movement is to remove body parts, the Palermo Protocol provides a comprehensive definition. However, as there is no such definition when the body parts have been removed, a challenge for this research project has been to establish what constitutes trafficking body parts.

During dialogue with a number of international organisations and institutions including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UNICEF and the US State department, requests were made for their definition of trafficking body parts. However, none of these organisations were able to provide a definition of trafficking body parts. Most quoted the Palermo Protocol, assuming that this was an issue involving transplants where the person would need to be trafficked.

Through this research, the literature review and from communications with leading Human Rights organisations, it became clear that there has been a long standing assumption that trafficking body parts relates only to transplants and therefore, generally speaking, the person would need to be trafficked for the purpose of removing the body part. It appears that the concept of using body parts for purposes other than transplants has not been considered when assessing the need for a definition.


Project definition of trafficking body parts

If a body part is used or sold in a different place from where it was taken from the body, movement of the body part must have taken place.

Trafficking is the act of moving and trading something illegal11. As being in possession of body parts for trade is considered illegal12, this report argues that the movement of a body part for the purpose of sale or commercial transaction is trafficking body parts.

Therefore the project’s definition of trafficking body parts is as follows:
Transportation or movement of a body part, either across a border or within a country for the purpose of sale or commercial transaction is considered trafficking body parts.


Methodology

This report is based on a seven month research project with a four month field work period in Mozambique and South Africa.

Between May and September 2008, a research team carried out qualitative and participatory regional research in Maputo city and in the provinces of Maputo, Sofala, Nampula, Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Tete in Mozambique and Limpopo, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga in South Africa.


Research Team

When carrying out research into an issue as sensitive as trafficking body parts, much consideration from the researchers is required. As a consequence, it was deemed necessary that the researchers were familiar with the cultural background of those attending the workshops and those agreeing to be interviewed. This would enable the researcher to create an open environment for communicating issues relating to trafficking body parts.

Furthermore, it was important that the researchers could communicate directly with those attending, using the local language of the community. As a consequence, it was decided to arrange a partnership with Childline in South Africa and for Mozambique, employ the services of an experienced researcher with knowledge and strong contact with the local community.

Childline South Africa is well known and respected throughout South Africa for their commitment to upholding the rights of the child. They provide a 24 hour toll free call centre for children in each province in South Africa as well as therapeutic services for abused children and their families and caretakers. They also offer court preparation for children who are witnesses to their abuse in criminal court. Childline South Africa advocates on child rights issues and provides safe house care for children.

The research team consisted of three researchers from South Africa working part time and one from Mozambique working full time. The difference in the number of researchers in South Africa and Mozambique was simply due to capacity and availability at the time of the research project. All researchers, or the organisations they represented, were known and trusted in the communities. As the majority of the researchers had limited experience with research and interview techniques, it was important to provide adequate training.


Training the researchers

The researchers attended initial training undertaken by the Regional Programme Manager. The researchers were introduced to the research project, the workshop presentation format and the interview techniques, including open questioning techniques and the importance of neutrality. They were given training on how to place emphasis on important issues relating to the project and how to gather as much information as possible, always keeping the safety and security of the informant and themselves a priority. Training on how to use a dictaphone and how to introduce its use was also covered. Halfway through the research, the researchers met again for interim training to discuss how they were progressing and to address any concerns or difficulties, as well as to share successes with the rest of the team.


Field work

139 individuals, who expressed a desire or a willingness to share either a particular account or a specific experience of trafficking body parts, participated in interviews. The following groups were interviewed13: Human Rights Organisations (8), Religious Organisations (1), Women’s Organisations (2), Local Authorities (2), Police (PRM and PIC from Mozambique and SAPS from South Africa) (9), Police Commanders (2), Border Officials (9), District Administrators (1), District Agricultural Directors (2), District Attorneys (4), Municipality Councillors (1), Doctors (1), Health Technicians (2), South African Education Department (2), Neighbourhood Secretaries (5), Nurses (2), Teachers (1), Traditional Healers’ Association (AMETRAMO) (22), Traditional Healers (4), Community Members (25), Nuns (4), Pastors (1), Peasants (2), Stall Holders (2), Social Workers (1), Radio Station Employees (2), Fishermen (4), Customs Officials (1), Perpetrators (2), Perpetrators’ Family members (3), Victims (2), Victims’ Family members (7) and individuals accused of committing mutilations (2)14.

Research into trafficking body parts is extremely sensitive and consideration of the consequences for those speaking out needed to be taken into account, whether in terms of immediate security or their standing in community. Taking these concerns into consideration, the names of those interviewed have not been used in this report, unless permission was received and this information could not jeopardise the individuals’ safety. In addition, some of the names of locations have also been changed.


Workshops

In order to create a suitable environment and platform for discussion for such a potentially sensitive subject, it was important to create a relaxed, comfortable and safe environment.

This environment was achieved by arranging workshops and focus groups within the various communities, run by presenters and/or organisations familiar to those attending. Where possible, given the geographical scope of this research, the workshops were conducted in the local language. It was important that the workshop was an enjoyable interactive experience for all those participating. The workshop concept is popular in South Africa and Mozambique and ensuring a high level of attendance was rarely an issue, to the extent that numerous requests have been made for follow up workshops.

The workshops and focus groups were conducted in the community and were entitled “Human Rights and Trafficking Workshop”. Groups from many sectors of society were invited. As there was no precedent and little information on which sectors might have information and relevant experiences, multiple sectors were invited. Each workshop followed the same format, with the researchers adapting the presentation to their own style, ensuring the environment was suitable for those attending.

The workshops covered basic Human Rights definitions with a presentation followed by participatory exercises. These included small group discussions on possible Human Rights violations, debates and case scenarios. The same method was used for the second part of the workshop, entitled Trafficking. This created an open and honest platform for lively discussion.

One of the case scenarios discussed in the Trafficking section of the workshop contained an account of a mutilation where body parts had been removed. The term “trafficking body parts” was purposely never introduced by the presenter. This phrase or term was only used once the group themselves mentioned this as their conclusion to the case scenario. The presenter then followed up on this introduction, by inviting other participants of the workshop to comment. This, on all but one occasion led to an open discussion on the subject and proved to be an excellent method to encourage people to discuss.

During this discussion, the presenter would note who was comfortable talking about the issue of trafficking body parts. Once the workshop had concluded, the presenter followed up with the individual and requested an interview, explaining in more detail the purpose of the project and the reason the individual had been selected.

The focus groups were arranged in a similar way, but were less structured as, on occasion, the presenter needed to be spontaneous and set up at short notice often without the benefit of electricity or a presentation room. The approach of allowing the group to introduce the issue of body parts was maintained throughout.


Snowballing and referrals

Some individuals, who were interviewed after the workshops and focus groups, were prepared to introduce others who also had useful information on this topic. Furthermore, the workshop provided a platform for people to share news and media reports of attacks and the researchers were able to follow up on this information.


Reliability and validity of the interviews

When conducting qualitative research the purpose of interviewing is to gain deeper insight into a specific phenomenon, in this case trafficking body parts. What is essential is the social context making certain actions meaningful. The idea is to place parts of social life into a larger whole.

Qualitative interviewing is not concerned with ‘truth’ in terms of a quantifiable generalisation, but is concerned with achieving understanding of complex phenomena or dynamics in society. Therefore, the research team had no intention of ‘disproving’ or putting the information provided on trial. Rather, the intention was to document and analyse the subjective reality presented by the informants.

The opportunity to test accounts however presented itself on a number of occasions. Firstly, the accounts were often shared during the workshop. For instance, once the subject of trafficking body parts had been introduced, the presenter would ask the other attendees if they had something to share on this topic. On the majority of occasions, the account that was shared with the group was again shared during the interview. This correspondence between front stage (i.e. the public social setting of the workshop environment) and the back stage (one-on-one, more intimate and relaxed talk with researcher) indicates that the information provided is trustworthy.

There were also a number of accounts with more than one independent confirmation. For example, “hearsay” information about an attack was given and the interviewer followed up on that report and interviewed the victim in hospital. There were a number of instances in communities where individuals were interviewed independently and spoke about the same incident, but from different perspectives. For instance, the account of an “old lady” who was attacked and beheaded in Mozambique. The head was found in “Tsatsimbe River where they crushed the head to remove the brain” which was said to have been taken to South Africa. The interviewer heard 3 separate firsthand accounts of the same incident, from a Policeman (MZ_MPX_I_1), a Community Member (MZ_MPM_FG_1) and a Neighbourhood Secretary (MZ_MPM_FG_1).

The research team used a triangulation of methods, when they had the opportunity. The team thus tested the reliability of certain information, in the way that they saw the same incident described from several angles, which ensures a high level of reliability and validity of the results.

The research process gave no reason to doubt the information provided by the participants, as they had nothing to gain and on occasion, much to loose from participating in this research.


Findings and interview samples

The following seven cases are a sample of the interviews conducted during the 4 month field work period. These samples are included in the report to show how this information was gathered and to maintain a focus on the people and their personal accounts rather than only on numbers and statistics.

As mentioned above, the names and some places have been changed to protect those people sharing their experiences.

At the beginning of each interview is a short summary. A sample of each interview is included. When a portion of an answer has been removed “[…]” will appear.

File Name: MZ_MC_I_2

Location: 1st Urban District, Maputo City Province, Mozambique

Interview date: 28th August, 2008

This interview was conducted in Maputo with a Doctor (DOC) who had been working in Mocimboa da Praia District (Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique). At the crime scene, he examined the body of a woman who was murdered in a village near Mocimboa da Praia in 2007. The Doctor concluded there was more than one perpetrator, they cut her throat and dragged her a few meters from the road. After she died, they used a “big knife” and with a “very precise cut or probably two cuts, one from each side,” the perpetrators removed her “external genitalia”. No suspects were arrested. The doctor believes the body parts were “Probably for traditional ceremonies, to make traditional medicines”.

LDH1: Did you ever see a body or attend a patient that was a victim of mutilations?
DOC: Last year, in 2007, I saw a body in Mocímboa da Praia, in a local community near the village, and they extracted the body’s external genitals. [….]

LDH1: And the body that you saw was it at the hospital or in the local community?
DOC: I saw it at the local community where I was called to examine the body.

LDH1: And was it from a man or a woman?
DOC: A woman.

LDH1: Was it only missing its external genitals, nothing else?
DOC: Only the genitals.

LDH1: And what was the state of the body?
DOC: She had been murdered few hours before, maximum 6 or 7 hours before (the examination ed.).

LDH1: Do you think that the organs had been removed by a professional?
DOC: It was someone who knew exactly what they were doing; the way how the body part was extracted. It presented a very well limited injury, done with an instrument probably very well prepared for that purpose, a big knife probably. Because there were no injuries that indicated that several cuts were made. The genital was removed with a very precise cut, or probably two cuts, one from each side removing the genitals. And the cuts were made after the person was dead.


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