Step up anti-human trafficking fight, IOM urges govt

HARARE - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) wants government to pass anti human trafficking legislation amid revelations that another Zimbabwean has fallen victim to the global scourge and was stranded in Brussels.

IOM chief of mission Lily Sanya made the call while presenting oral evidence to a human rights thematic committee in the Senate on Wednesday.

According to the 2016 Human Trafficking in Persons report, Zimbabwe is among the tier three countries which do not demonstrate a significant effort to satisfy the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

The country risks being slapped with non-humanitarian and non-trade sanctions unless there is consented intervention from government to fight the modern slavery.

“There is need for watertight legislation. We are aware Zimbabwe has a bill passed in 2014 which gives government room to address issues of trafficking but we are aware that it has some gaps,” Sanya said.

Countries in the gulf have been largely believed to be the destination of trafficked Zimbabweans. Nearly 46 million people around the world are living as slaves, forced to work in factories, mines and farms, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by rights group Walk Free Foundation.

At least  200 Zimbabwean women have since been repatriated from Kuwait where they stayed under harrowing conditions.

“We have cases of Zimbabweans who we have assisted back home from places like Netherlands, like China,” Sanya said.

“Just this week, the day before yesterday we had a call of a Zimbabwean in Brussels. So there could be more Zimbabweans who need assistance to come back home,” she said.

“ . . . Human trafficking is second to small arms in terms of profits with 50 to 60 percent of victims of human trafficking being women,” she said of the fastest-growing criminal business in the world.

Sanya added that governments needed to wake up to the fact that the scale of human trafficking is not showing any signs of receding.

She said prevention, partnerships, prosecution, and protection of victims were paramount if the world was to overcome human trafficking.

“The chains of modern slavery may not be visible but the suffering is real,” she said.

“I must say the government, through an inter-ministerial committee which led the development of the country’s first national action plan (in September 2015), have been trying. There is some progress, but still there is still a lot of work to be done in so far as prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships are concerned.”

The national action plan provides for a review of the current anti-trafficking legal framework.

The government has also in the past provided anti-trafficking training to its diplomatic personnel but there have been concerns that it did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts  and forced labour.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.