Zengeza West MP, Job Sikhala (MDC Alliance), who is also CCC deputy chairperson, has called for the amendment of the Trafficking of Persons Act to include 20-year mandatory sentences for people involved in human trafficking.
In a post on Twitter, the lawyer-politician said the trafficking of Zimbabweans to countries in the Middle East is now a national crisis that needs to be nipped in the bud. Wrote Sikhala:
There are urgent issues that we need to attend to as a nation collectively. Human trafficking from our country to the Middle East, especially, to Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is now a national crisis.
Our sisters are lured to get into a web of deceit through being promised heaven on earth. They are promised to work in hotels, schools, hospitals etc when in actual fact they will be dumped into the hands of modern-day slave masters.
They are promised salaries ranging from $350US to $2000US and the provision of accommodation, food and other ancillaries.
The arrival at the unknown destination is the beginning of a long journey of no return. They are left in the hands of vultures. Driven from the point of arrival for 10hrs not knowing where u are going.
Human trafficking agents operate using employment agents’ licences and the majority would be deceived to think that, their life will never be the same again.
They will realize at the point of arrival that, the Canaan they were promised is actually hell on earth.
Stories I have received I saw dehumanizing that, some have been turned into sex slaves and sheepherders.
Their passports are seized the moment they arrive at their new destination. They will be told that they will be working to recover the money, used for their air tickets, food, costs for processing the visa and medical tests.
As vulnerable as they are, they will be taken into a house with a huge durawall and will do any job for the new slave master.
From washing clothes, herding goats and sheep, cooking and at night the unknowns will come and devour them to satisfy their sexual desires.
The agents who would have facilitated the travel will be paid big. Their role in seducing the victims with their honey lacerated tongues will reward them big.
Families would think that mwana akaenda kubasa and unbeknown to them is that one of theirs has been turned into a slave.
Families must be educated first, not allow their children to go where they have no idea of the consequences.
There is a need for serious national advocacy around the issue of these advertised jobs in the Middle East.
Parliament needs to immediately amend the Trafficking of Persons Act, to give it the teeth to bite those involved in the human trafficking business.
The agents have become the most dangerous species on earth. They make thousands of US dollars on the sorrows of other people.
The Trafficking of Persons Act should have a mandatory sentence of 20 years for all people who are involved in the business of trafficking our people.
These people belong in prison. Modern-day slavery is abominable. Enough is Enough!