Govt tack­les hu­man traf­fick­ing

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Crime Re­porter

GOV­ERN­MENT will de­ploy labour in­spec­tors and so­cial work­ers across the coun­try to ex­am­ine sus­pected ex­ploita­tive work­ing con­di­tions that are linked to hu­man traf­fick­ing. Speak­ing at a data col­lec­tion train­ing and roll out of Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Task Forces work­shop in Harare yes­ter­day, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Home Af­fairs, Mr Melusi Mat­shiya, chal­lenged the in­spec­tors to be more vig­i­lant as they in­spect fac­to­ries, farms and all gen­eral work­places. “Hu­man traf­fick­ing is a scourge that knows no bound­ary, ev­ery coun­try the world over is af­fected by this heinous crime. As a coun­try we are af­fected as ei­ther, the source or tran­sit des­ti­na­tion for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing.

GOV­ERN­MENT will de­ploy labour in­spec­tors and so­cial work­ers across the coun­try to ex­am­ine sus­pected ex­ploita­tive work­ing con­di­tions that are linked to hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Speak­ing at a data col­lec­tion train­ing and roll out of Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Task Forces work­shop in Harare yes­ter­day, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for Home Af­fairs, Mr Melusi Mat­shiya, chal­lenged the in­spec­tors to be more vig­i­lant as they in­spect fac­to­ries, farms and all gen­eral work­places.

“Hu­man traf­fick­ing is a scourge that knows no bound­ary, ev­ery coun­try the world over is af­fected by this heinous crime. As a coun- try we are af­fected as ei­ther, the source or tran­sit des­ti­na­tion for vic­tims of traf­fick­ing.

“This train­ing work­shop comes af­ter the coun­try has been wo­ken up by some real tes­ti­monies of res­cued Zim­bab­wean vic­tims who had been repa­tri­ated from Kuwait, Saudi Ara­bia among other coun­tries. These vic­tims went through in­hu­man treat­ment at the hands of the traf­fick­ers,” he said.

Mr Mat­shiya said lack of in­for­ma­tion and statis­tics had made it dif­fi­cult to curb some of the hu­man traf­fick­ing cases.

“Al­though the UN Pro­to­col’s def­i­ni­tion of ‘traf­fick­ing in per­sons’ is de­tailed, in pop­u­lar par- lance, the em­pha­sis is placed on the acts of buy­ing and sell­ing vic­tims, rather than their ex­ploita­tion.

“There are mis­con­cep­tions be­cause vic­tims are usu­ally blamed and ac­cused of be­ing re­spon­si­ble for get­ting them­selves in ex­ploita­tive sit­u­a­tion they find them­selves in,” he said.

He said so­cial work­ers and labour in­spec­tors had a ma­jor role to play and their du­ties in­volve in­ter­ac­tion with peo­ple and at times the most vul­ner­a­ble who were more sus­cep­ti­ble to hu­man traf­fick­ing ow­ing to their so­cial sta­tus or back­ground.

“As labour in­spec­tors, you are re­quested to be more vig­i­lant as you go about your in­spec­tion du­ties in fac­to­ries, farms and all gen­eral work­places. Sus­pected ex­ploita­tive work­ing con­di­tions need to be closely ex­am­ined for pos­si­ble link to hu­man traf­fick­ing.

“Take time dur­ing your in­spec­tion to in­ter­act with the work­ers and to at least have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of how they were re­cruited, their liv­ing and work­ing con­di­tions as these can be good in­di­ca­tors of hu­man traf­fick­ing,” Mr Mat­shiya said.

He said there was also need to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate and ex­am­ine cases brought to their at­ten­tion and they should be first line re­spon­ders to hu­man traf­fick­ing within the com­mu­ni­ties.

He said it was his hope that the work­shop, which was or­gan­ised by the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), will equip them with the rel­e­vant skills to de­tect vic­tims and po­ten­tial vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and go fur­ther to cap­ture such data.

In April this year, over 200 peo­ple who were vic­tims of hu­man traf­fick­ing in Kuwait and Saudi Ara­bia were repa­tri­ated.

Most of t he vic­tims were women who were traf­ficked to the two Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries on the prom­ise of bet­ter pay­ing jobs, but ended up be­ing forced to en­gage in pros­ti­tu­tion and slave labour.

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