Trafficking targets teenagers

Human trafficking in Zimbabwe targets teenagers aged between 12-18 years, especially girls, the majority of whom are used as domestic servants or subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

IOM Chief of Mission, Martin Ocaga and Tafadzwa Mwale, from UNIC, UNCG
IOM Chief of Mission, Martin Ocaga and Tafadzwa Mwale, from UNIC, UNCG

The International Organisation for Migration Chief of Mission, Martin Ocaga, said Zimbabwe was a source, transit and destination country of human trafficking.

Said Ocaga: “Human trafficking networks in Zimbabwe operate as individuals or in small units while operators of the trade co- ordinate with bigger players in final destination countries regionally and internationally.”

“Many people including boys and men are trafficked to South Africa for labour exploitation as well as to many other countries,” he told Ocaga a recent discussion forum at the United Nations Information Centre.

Norman Marima, an ambassador of the Indigenous Pastors Fraternity in the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe said human trafficking was prevalent among the apostolic sects where children have been groomed to accept it as a norm.

“Children as young as six are trafficked under the guise of religion especially within the apostolic sects,” he said. He alleged that ‘Mazezuru’ was an example of a sect that formed syndicates to fuel human trafficking and exploitation of young people.

“These people are the ones implicated in all sorts of crimes regionally although they claim to be Christians,” he said.

Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. Some four million people are trafficked each year for profits of $6- $9 billion.

Between 1994 and 2013, IOM assisted 58,551 victims of trafficking and in 2012 alone, the organisation assisted 6,499 victims from 85 nationalities. 66 percent of the trafficked victims were female, 12 percent were male and the rest were children.

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