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Anyone can fall victim to human trafficking

10 years ago | 8227 Views
by Mandy Kanyemba

MANY people have been lured into believing that there are greener pastures on the side of the border or overseas.

Men, women and children have since become victims of human trafficking after being convinced that life is rosy in another place apart from home.

They leave their comfortable zone and taken to a place where they are made to work like slaves, forced into prostitution, forced into drug dealing or into doing any form of illegal task to the traffickers' benefit.

What do we mean by saying human trafficking?

Human trafficking is whereby an individual or individuals are lured away from their familiar surroundings to a place where they are harshly controlled and enslaved to the traffickers' benefit.

Zimbabwe is regarded as a source, transit and destination for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically on conditions of forced labour and forced prostitution.

According to International Organisation of Migration, human trafficking often begins with a false promise of an opportunity. Victims are promised good jobs or other opportunities, but are then forced into dangerous, illegal or abusive work.

Sometimes victims know the type of work they will do, but are deceived about the conditions or the pay.

Other times victims are too young to make decisions and it is their parents who are deceived.

Victims of human trafficking are moved from one place to another, sometimes they are taken across borders, either legally or illegally and sometimes they are moved within a country often from rural areas to urban centres.

Anyone is capable of being a trafficker, but in most of the cases a close relative, a friend or someone whom the victim knows is the trafficker.

A close relative may try to sympathise with the victim on their situation or may want to be seen as a helpful person.

A friend may try to make her mates believe that life is good yet luring them into trafficking.

Even parents may contribute to the trafficking of their children without knowing by facilitating for the trip or granting their children the permission to go with the trafficker.

There are three main types of trafficking which are Internal Trafficking- happens within the country that is trafficking of men and women from the rural areas into the urban centre or from one town to another.

Regional trafficking- being moved from one's country to other African countries.

International Trafficking-out of Africa, destinations are usually Asia, Canada and the UK, etc.

Victims tend to facilitate for their journey or the trafficker may do so but expects to be paid back as soon as the victim gets their first income.

When they get to their destination, women are forced into prostitution where they are made to stay in brothels and are made to do forced labour.

Men are forced to transport and deliver harmful illegal substances and they are also exploited to do forced labour.

Some may ask that why can't the victims try to escape or run away?

The victims have the same desire of escaping, but the traffickers are clever enough to confisticate the victims' documents upon arrival so that they will not escape.

If they try to escape they are likely to be reported as an illegal migrant.

At the same time the trafficking victims are frequently beaten, tortured, deprived of food, raped, tortured or drugged into submission of the illicit acts.

According to a presentation made by IOM Zimbabwe official recently, Mr Kusemwa Tapfumanei, he said: "The Global Trafficking in Persons Report is an international document, produced by the US Department of State for the purpose of gauging the global efforts to combat human trafficking.

The report divides countries into four categories/tiers namely Tier 1,2, 3Watch List and 3. Each of the tiers denotes the level at which the country under scrutiny has reached in trying to combat human trafficking. The global report is produced annually.

"The GTiP report of 2012 places Zimbabwe on Tier 3 in terms of the efforts made by Government to combat trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe.

This classification generally implies that, the country has limited legislation, policies and systems to combat trafficking in persons."

Zimbabwe is both a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation among others.

One may wonder what leads people to end up as victims of human trafficking in Zimbabwe?

Well, there are push factors and these include poverty, lack of employment opportunities, political conflicts, gender discrimination and lack of information.

However, trafficking does not only occur to Zimbabwean men and women only, but countries like Mozambique, Rwanda, Malawi, DRC, Lesotho and Botswana among others are also involved, with most of the victims ending up in South Africa.

An overview of human trafficking is that it is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

Between 800 000 and 4 000 000 people believed to be trafficked each year.

Human trafficking can be avoided through sound migration policies, awareness campaigns, parents should not send or post their children with anyone else apart from them (parents), those who want to migrate should have the proper documentation and enough financial resources which will sustain them upon arrival at the destination as well as not depending on someone else to facilitate accommodation or employment for them.
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