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Zimbabwe mulls stiffer penalties for human traffickers

by Staff reporter
06 Apr 2023 at 06:43hrs | Views
VICE-President Constantino Chiwenga has revealed that the country will impose stiffer penalties for human traffickers who he accused of robbing the nation of human capital in the name of recruiting professionals.

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action (2023-2028) in Harare yesterday, Chiwenga acknowledged inconsistencies in the health sector that have caused massive brain drain, which has attracted human traffickers to take advantage of health personnel seeking greener pastures.

"I was saying to the Home Affairs minister (Kazembe Kazembe) that we must also address the blatant white collar crime by people masquerading as recruiting professionals from Zimbabwe. If one deliberately recruits and makes the country suffer, that's a crime against humanity. The people are dying in hospitals because there are no nurses and doctors. That must be taken seriously," Chiwenga said.

"Zimbabwe frowns at this heinous crime which is also a grave violation of human rights. This crime strips an individual of all their dignity, their self-worth and their confidence. We will act to address this to make sure that there is watertight protection of our people. Gone are the days of slavery. Being subjugated as a people ended when we attained our independence in 1980."

He said the 70-year jail sentence given to one of the perpetrators of human trafficking was an example of what would befall other would-be offenders.

"We will be adding more years because this crime must be brought to an end," he said.

Speaking at the same event, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said between 2016 and 2021, more than 100 trafficked victims had been repatriated back home.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe

He said six convictions were made, while some cases are still pending at the courts.

"In 2022, a total 69 cases involving 139 victims were recorded and investigated. Seven accused persons (all Zimbabweans) were arrested. Four were arrested for Oman trafficking and three for domestic cases," Kazembe said.

United Nations resident coordinator Edward Kallon said: "Creating a common national and regional positive narrative accompanied by real economic, social and political opportunities and coordinated bilateral and regional labour migration frameworks can deter human trafficking."

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe