Government has said 176 Victims of Trafficking (VOT) have been rescued and repatriated home since 2016 following intensified efforts to monitor and combat the Trafficking In Person.
Speaking at the Trafficking in Persons Project Launch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture Development, Melusi Matshaya, said the repatriated people have been reintegrated into the community and offered necessary assistance.
“To date (since 2016) close to 176 VoTs have been identified, repatriated and offered all necessary protection, assistance upon arrival in the country,” he said.
“The government has been engaged in a process of identification of VoTs, facilitation of their repatriation and provision of post-arrival protection assistance which includes the provision of shelter, medical assistance and reintegration support,” added Matshaya.
Zimbabwe’s ranking in human trafficking have improved in 2017 moving from tier three to tier two. The government investigated 72 potential cases of trafficking, an increase from one investigation in the previous reporting period. The government reported prosecuting 42 trafficking cases in 2016.
In 2016, the government coordinated with Kuwait to repatriate and refer to care 121 female trafficking victims and other five from Sudan.
The government launched its first national action plan and implemented several key activities in the plan. The Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial committee developed terms of reference to guide front-line respondents in a victim-centred approach and established two provincial task forces to implement the national action plan at the provincial level.
Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through the United States Department of State office has unveiled $750 000 grant towards the monitoring and combating of Trafficking in Persons and the implementation of counter-trafficking activities.
The 36 months project seeks to enhance the government of Zimbabwe and civil society efforts to coordinate anti-trafficking responses and to protect VoTs through the strengthened capacity of targeted communities to prevent TIPs and an institutionalized National Referral Mechanism.
Daniel Sam, the IOM project manager said: “TIP has become a global, organised business that generates huge profits for traffickers and organised syndicates.
“The crime severely violates the fundamental human rights of victims and destroys their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Traffickers profit from non-existent or relatively lax sanctions in many parts of the world, insufficient coordination among authorities and little awareness on the part of potential victims about the dangers of trafficking.”
Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Women and girls from Zimbabwean towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia are subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in brothels catering to long-distance truck drivers on both sides of the borders.