Kuwait human trafficking victim recounts ordeal

HARARE - A human trafficking victim narrated to the courts yesterday the untold suffering she endured at the residence of former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe’s brother.

She said she had been lured to the Western Asian nation to take up a job as a domestic worker.

Joyline Muchengu was one of more than 32 women that were repatriated back to Zimbabwe on May 13 after the government had negotiated with the Kuwait government.

Brenda Avril May, the Kuwait Embassy secretary in Belgravia, Harare, who allegedly worked in cahoots with the former ambassador of Kuwait to Zimbabwe in trafficking the women, was charged in the same court for human trafficking.

May, who is already on remand on similar charges, appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe.

She was released on $500 bail and remanded to June 14.

May appeared together with Nyasha Bako, 29, Lucia Makwangwa, 41, and Jethro Madakasi, 23.

Bako and Makwangwa were also released on $500 bail each but the State opposed Madakasi’s release because he had been on the run since March.

Allegations against May arose sometime in October last year when she allegedly recruited desperate job seekers to work in Kuwait well knowing that she was engaging in human trafficking for her own benefit.

After advertising that there were job vacancies for nurse aides in Kuwait, Muchengu showed interest and was told that all travel arrangements would be catered for by May.

Muchengu was instructed to go for medical examinations, police clearance and provide copies of her passport and photographs.

The court heard that Muchengu was then advised that she was going to work as a nurse aide for Bader Khaled Al-Jeran — brother to former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmed Al-Jeran.

On October 13, Muchengu collected her visa from Kuwait Embassy in Harare and checked in at Harare International Airport.

When she arrived in Kuwait, Muchengu was whisked away by an unidentified agent who delivered her to Al-Jeran’s residence.

The agent confiscated Muchengu’s passport and she was told that she would work as a house maid.

Muchengu told the court she was made to work for 22 hours every day, made to eat left overs and was always locked in Al-Jeran’s house.

She was also barred from accessing any means of communication to deter her from informing her relatives back home about the abuse.

The court heard that Muchengu later managed to communicate with relatives back in Zimbabwe and returned home on May 13 after the government intervened to repatriate victims.

Comments (16)

hopefully its not the same scenario with the Chinese 100 percent scholarship

jayden - 19 May 2016

Dear fellow zimbabweans, our country is more of christian back ground. Its advisable to find a christian community or country as a possible destination. Arab world and islam culture is very strict, tough and not for the faint hearted , worse if you are a female. A worker is taken as a "thing". I think the wrong people were sent to Kuwait. We do have islam people here, they should have been the ones approached first, they might have adjusted well to these custom and conditions. I find this whole fiasco more of a Labour dispute than "trafficking". African migrants are crying in Qatar building 2022 world cup facilities. There was no plan B in Kuwait, If it was Europe or America , all this noise would have never happened alternatives are always there and coming home is not an option. Our situation is so bad. Our Gvt must just make policies that create jobs locally.

X-MAN IV - 19 May 2016

The Middle East is great when all your papers are in order, especially Saudi Arabia. Yes, Shariah law is very strict but if you know what you're getting into then you prepare for it. I agree that for women its very different and difficult. Moreso, when you can't speak Arabic and you're nonMuslim. Once you respect Moslems, you get respect in return.

Sagitarr - 20 May 2016

munoinda ikoko Ngirandi, kunoitei, kunaani wenyu, kunogeza tuchembere muchibatwa chibharo imika musade ndege kudaro. Munopiwa mavanga asingapore ehupenyu. Tamburai muri muno menyu. ndapedza

ngirozi mikairi - 20 May 2016

Some of the comments here are concerning. This has nothing to do with Arab culture and customs or the labour environment in Arab countries. This has nothing to do with being Muslim or the Islam religion. Having yo passport confiscated, working for 22 hours a day, eating left overs and not being allowed to leave the house or make contact with the outside world is slavery, it is not acceptable under any culture or law. These women were lied to, manipulated and trafficked. This is not a labour matter or a misunderstanding. They were promised one thing and given another. You cannot say or expect Zimbabwean Muslims to have accepted those terms. One also goes on to say 'musade ndege kudaro' and 'tamburai muri muno menyu'. Honestly we all know the situation in Zimbabwe, is it wrong to seek greener pastures? The countries budget is heavily funded by repatriated taxes from Zimbabweans working abroad. Let us have a conscience for our sisters who were trafficked. They will read this article and our comments. May God heal and restore their broken souls.

attiza - 20 May 2016

well said @attiza!! what do yu think about zimbabweans who leave/sneak out of the kantry to do menial jobs that does not need standard qualifications in a far away kantry where qualified expatriates take weeks of rigorous interviews, migration clearences, gvt approval before they take the flight?? who is to blame for a situation where an unqualified person to be lured and promised mega-packs for domestic work when qualified exparts struggle to get befitting placements for foreign meritorious jobs? for the two questions @attiza; what can be the solution(s)?

SaManyika Chaiye - 20 May 2016

Its nothing to do wth Islam.Its bcoz of our colour.we are dispised by the 2 races,asians n whites.To them we are trash,animals frm the jungle.since slavery days black pple have suffered,even now thru immigration.look at how Sirians are being treated.Wuld yu expect the same feelings for black Africans,no.upon arrival at sea shows the police will be putting on gloves n guns,whips.see it in Italy when blacks arrive on boats,animals.Sirians? Ambulances,bottled water,food.A whole train airconditioned to transport them to Germany.Bt Africans no,they frown on us.

viola gwena - 20 May 2016

When Ethiopians were dying of hunger in the 80s,they took no notice,even UN kept their distance.They were intertained by watching on tv,skinny negroes dying.It took a musician,michael jackson ,to fundraise for food.the late musician gave up his money n cried on tv for help.other musicians came in to help,bt not European gorvernments,arabs or americans.It took Bob Marley to raise the issue of zimbabwean n south african oppression,to raise alarm to UN.bt otherwise to UN it was business as usual,bunch of blacks serving whites so what.know yo place,Africa.

viola gwena - 20 May 2016

@SaManyika Chaiye: I think in that case its a matter of being naïve. Hungry people are gullible people. It doesn't have to make sense if it makes cents, so I guess logic escapes when one is faced with a do or die situation. You're damned if u take yo chances and sneak into a country to do menial jobs, you're damned if you don't. I place blame squarely on the government of the day in failing to provide opportunities to its citizens, regardless of its excuses (sanctions etc). It would help also to educate people on the dangers of recklessly and carelessly sneaking into other countries but that wont help much if the push factors are not addressed.

attiza - 20 May 2016

Thank you @attiza!

SaManyika Chaiye - 20 May 2016

@Viola.very true tete.being black is criminal,even in US blacks are being shot in streets by white police.

yuba - 20 May 2016

@Viola: I think you're missing the point. You seem to be insinuating that whites should be coming to our help but why do we find ourselves begging for help in the first place. You seem to be suggesting that Italy should be welcoming North African refugees like Germany is welcoming Syrians yet you are being blind to the fact that being a refugee is the problem in the first place, not what developed countries do about it. As Africans in this day and age, we are oppressed by our own. We are victims of black oppressive governments and very suppressive dictatorships that kill and punish their own. If you look at Africa from Tunis to Cape Town, you cannot deny that there is a loud crisis of leadership as most countries, though endowed with rich resources, are squealing in poverty due to repressive and corrupt dictatorships. African leaders have basically formed a cartel of evil repressive thieves who gather at the AU and decide to cover up for each other and remain untouchable, at the end its the masses that suffer and flee, I don't see how we can blame the UN and other races for that. Sudan is suffering under Al Bashir, Somalians were suffering under Mengistu (who lives in Harare now), we had Idi Amin, Arap Moi, Kabilas, Mugabe, Mobutu, look at Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, its all because of a crisis of leadership and other African heads of state watch and keep quiet. You cannot blame whites for their inaction and still shout African solutions to African problems when they intervene. We do not need hand outs from whites, we need to solve our leadership crises and corruption as a continent.

attiza - 20 May 2016

well put @attiza!! yu hit the nail flat & square on the head! finding cheap scapegoats when the problem is plainly visible won't get us anywhere!

SaManyika Chaiye - 20 May 2016

Everyone goes somewhr to look for wealth.who is asking for whites help.how did the whites get here in africa?wasnt it looking for wealth.did subject them to such humiliations the y do to us.UN is for all members,equal membership.simple.racism has nothing to do wth Rwanda n those countries yu mention.those girls were given that treatment bcoz of being black.Racism is to be judged purely on yo skin colour,not tribalism ,or politics.by the way they all ugly.

viola gwena - 21 May 2016

@Attiz.are yu justfying racism?I think yu are.yu hav silly reasns anyway.

jembe - 21 May 2016

iam algerian i d like to join your organism to wirk

rezki mohamed - 21 November 2016

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