Thirty two Zimbabwean women who returned from Kuwait were yesterday sneaked out of Harare international Airport with members of the press and the women’s relatives failing to see them.
The women who were lured to Kuwait to work as housemaids ended up as sex slaves with reports indicating that some of the women were now pregnant.
While the parliamentary delegation led by speaker of National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda and chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs,Kindness Paradza were addressing members of the press,under heavy police protection, the girls were sneaked to a ‘safe house’ at an unknown location’.
Upon arrival the women were handed over to government which was represented by, Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare Priscah Mupfumira, accompanied by Minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa, Minister of Women Affairs, Nyasha Chikwinya and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
Minister Mupfumira encouraged journalists to respect the women’s personal dignity.
“We want you (journalists) to try to respect their personal dignity, confidentiality and privacy,” she said adding that government has ensured that the women have a safe home where they will be provided with all the necessities including food and medical attention.
“The girls have been taken to their safe house and tomorrow we start the process of trying to assess them by giving them psycho-social support. We have a team from my ministry as well as the health ministry to attend to the women as some of them might be traumatized and sick.
Minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa echoed the above sentiments when he said, “It is routine that when one comes from such a situation they need to go through medical assessment.
“We need to unbundle that psychological stress they might be going through and come up with an appropriate health profile,” he said.
Adv Mudenda dismissed claims that some government bigwigs were involved in the trafficking of Zimbabwean women to Kuwait. He said the illegal act of trafficking was perpetrated by a syndicate in Zimbabwe and Kuwait.
“We got an impression that the perpetration of these criminal activities was done by a syndicate and was not an experience done by the two governments,” said Adv Mudenda.
He added that the government of Kuwait played a critical role in facilitating the repatriation of the women.
Foreign Affairs, Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said he was happy that the girls were now back home.
“Every effort was being made to bring back the girls within the framework of the available resources.
“We are keen to get to get to the root of this matter especially the syndicate in Zimbabwe responsible for the marketing of these girls. The relevant authorities are undergoing investigations to track down the syndicate who have been doing this act,” he said
Despite government’s failure to channel resources towards the repatriation of the trafficking victims Minister Mbengerwi remains optimistic that government of Zimbabwe will take responsibility of repatriating women who are still in Kuwait.
Meanwhile,opposition parties, political analysts and civil society members have since condemned government for failing to raise money to bring back these 32 women who were stranded in Kuwait.
After government publicly announced that it had no money to bring back the ladies from Kuwait businessman Wicknell Chivayo paid $58 000 from his own pockets for their air tickets.