The project, titled “Building National Response Capacity to Combat Human Trafficking in Zimbabwe”, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and supports a government counter-trafficking strategy focusing on raising awareness of trafficking in persons among government officials and members of the public.
The USAID-funded project is timely as it will allow IOM to strengthen the government’s counter-trafficking efforts, particularly as it intends to pass counter-trafficking legislation this year,” said IOM Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe, Vincent Houver. Other activities under the new project include strengthening of the national referral system for protection and reintegration assistance to trafficking victims with a special focus on children and youth.
The socio-economic deterioration in Zimbabwe in recent years has contributed to heightened vulnerabilities of Zimbabwean nationals to human trafficking, particularly youths. Recent research on child trafficking, jointly conducted by IOM and the
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), revealed that a significant number of minors in Zimbabwe are being approached and recruited by traffickers.
The study found that children are trafficked to work in agriculture, for sexual exploitation and for domestic servitude, both within and beyond Zimbabwe, including in neighbouring South Africa and Botswana. Nigerian organised crime syndicates operating from Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein lure young girls into prostitution. Boys are often lured by promises of work and end up as slaves in agriculture, fishery, construction, mines, sweatshops and catering.
In other cases the children are held for domestic servitude, street begging or peddling, forced military service, removal of body parts for muti purposes while others were trafficked for adoption and forced marriage.
The US Department of State 2010 Trafficking in Persons report also lists Zimbabwe as a source, transit and destination country for trafficking of women and children. Due to its geographical location, Zimbabwe is highly vulnerable to both trafficking and smuggling in people from Asia, Europe and from other African countries.Post published in: News