Zim acts on human trafficking

HARARE - Government yesterday unveiled an action plan targeted at combating human trafficking, amid concerns that more Zimbabwean women could be trapped in the Middle East.

This comes as 101 Zimbabwean women who had been trafficked to the Arab country of Kuwait were recently repatriated back to home.

Initially, it was estimated that at most 200 women were trapped in the Gulf, but revelations by rescued victims suggested that the numbers were way higher.

Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengengwi who read a speech on behalf of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, yesterday said government was going to work with development partners in implementation of the action plan — dubbed “Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action" — as well as rescuing the trapped women.

“In line with Trafficking in Persons Act, the government... has been preoccupied with this situation and has facilitated the repatriation of the victims of trafficking,” he said.

The action plan, which will run for two year until 2018, will among other things establish a functional identification and referral system for reported cases, facilitate the provision of appropriate direct assistance to victims, and establish a rehabilitation programme.

It also targets to educate vulnerable Zimbabweans on employment practices in various countries so that they become aware of possible slavery practices.

Human trafficking is a billion-dollar illicit industry, with 55 percent of victims being women and 26 percent being children, according to the United Nations.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime regional advisor Samantha Monodawafa said the action plan should be able to make traffickers fear Zimbabwe.

“(This is) just to send a message out there from a criminal justice point of view to traffickers that, Zimbabwe will not tolerate this kind of impunity,” she said.

Zimbabwe has an operational anti-trafficking law; Trafficking in Persons Act (Chapter 9:25), which was enacted in 2014.

The country’s economic situation — high unemployment, escalating poverty and poor service delivery — has made many desperate, forcing them to migrate.

And this has exposed them to human trafficking.

Zimbabwean authorities also intend to monitor private employment agencies as part of measures to curb human trafficking.

Comments (1)

great article

Ivan Samdaan - 2 August 2016

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