Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Over 200 people who were victims of human trafficking to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been repatriated, Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr Melusi Matshiya has said. Mr Matshiya said this after meeting the Senate Thematic Committee on Human Rights on Wednesday to discuss the impact of human trafficking in Zimbabwe. “As of now we have had over 200 people who have been repatriated and mostly from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Most of the victims were women trafficked to the two Middle Eastern countries on the promise of better paying jobs but ended up being forced to engage in prostitution and labour enslavement.
Mr Matshiya said it was important that people study and understand the nature of the visa they are granted before they visited any foreign country.
“The question was if Kuwait is doing that, it is outlawed (by the UN) why is it they (UN) can’t stop it? The issue is it is a free country and the ‘Kadamas’, according to their language, is a servant and if you come up with a visa written ‘Kadama’, it’s a servant visa which already classifies you in terms of the laws of that country and they will receive you as a servant,” Mr Matshiya added.
He said Government had set up an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and includes the ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Foreign Affairs, Health and Child Care and Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to deal with the matter.
Mr Matshiya said they were working with the country’s embassies across the world to study human trafficking trends.
Meanwhile, Mr Matshiya told the committee that police investigations into the whereabouts of missing activist Itai Dzamara were ongoing.