Fraud, rape increase as desperation for jobs grows

Fraud and rape are on the increase as Zimbabwe’s high rate of unemployment takes its toll on desperate job seekers.It is estimated that the rate of unemployment is hovering above 80 percent, with the majority of those unemployed being in the16-40 years age group.

High unemployment have forced youths to survive on illegal panning.
High unemployment have forced youths to survive on illegal panning.

The government has frozen all posts in the civil service as it battles poor revenue inflows, while industry is still smarting under the effects of a decade-long economic crisis.

An eighteen-year-old girl from Mabvuku recently contracted a sexually transmitted disease after being raped by a man masquerading as an employee of Duly Trucks Zimbabwe who claimed he was responsible for the recruitment of apprentices.

“I finished my Ordinary Level in 2010 and I passed nine subjects with flying colours. My intention was to proceed to Advanced Level but I couldn’t do that as my grandmother’s pension is not enough to look for the four of us.

‘‘We are orphans left by our parents who succumbed to HIV and I am the eldest. My granny has to make sure my siblings also get to Form Four,”she said.

The only option left was to look for employment to help her siblings with food and school fees.For the past two years, her hopes of getting a job of any type was dashed. When the Duly Trucks’ conman came along, she thought her dream would at last become a reality.

“The requirements seemed reasonable to me since the man did not demand much from me. When I approached him, he was very kind to me. He promised to get me the place for apprenticeship without any hassles.‘He became my friend—or so I thought— as he could sometimes buy me goodies until he took me to a recreational park in Hillside where he raped me, resulting in the infection,” she said. She has not heard of the man since the day she was raped.

The company has distanced itself from the man, insisting that the stamp and letters he used were fake.

There are unsubstantiated reports of the rape of girls at National Youth Service centres around the country by instructors.The centres, now dormant due to financial problems, were set up in the early 2000s to give military training to youths, ostensibly to entrench a sense of patriotism in them.

However, the scheme was widely condemned by political parties and human rights activists as a Zanu (PF) initiative to train militias to carry out violent acts against those opposed to the party and to help keep President Robert Mugabe in power.Graduates of the centres have been accused of being used to set up torture bases during election time.

Many youths joined the training services in the hope of getting employment in the public service and in the security sector but are still unemployed.

There has also been an outcry over bogus briefcase companies that advertise for security personnel and till operators, conning desperate job seekers out of their money. They place adverts in local newspapers calling on the unemployed to report at certain places for recruitment, promising them jobs after short training courses.

When the applicants get to the announced venues, they are instructed to pay varying amounts of money for the training, but they get disappointed when the recruiters do not help them get jobs.

There have been numerous reports of female job seekers being coerced into sexual relationships and getting raped.These cases are just the tip of an iceberg as more people go the extra mile to secure the elusive job.

Labour expert, Anthony Jongwe, believes that job seekers need to be protected from such unethical practices.“While the Labour Relations Act (Chapter 28:01) considers sexual harassment to be an unfair labour practice, most cases go unreported for fear of victimisation or reprisal.Human resources practitioners need to be guided by the ethics of the profession and that means soliciting for bribes or seeking sexual favours in exchange for jobs or promotion is unethical conduct which should lead to serious professional sanction,” he said.

There are clarion calls for law enforcement agents to take action against the alleged fraud cases that are reported. Betty Makoni of the Girl Child Network International director has in the past condemned the increases in the number of young females being raped in job related incidences, saying the practices are an impediment to social development and a violation of women’s rights.

Post published in: Analysis

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