A woman who is allegedly at the centre of a cheap labour export ring has appeared in court accused of selling Zimbabwean women into slavery in Oman.
Several women are reportedly living a nightmare in Oman after they were promised a life-changing job opportunity in the United Arab Emirates with fully paid flights and visas to Dubai, its most modern capital.
Destination Dubai turned out to be Oman, the rich emirates’ south-east neighbour, and the lucrative jobs promised turned into a life of slavery and exploitation.
Farisisai Mupeti, of Rusike Phase 3 in Marondera, briefly appeared before Harare Magistrate Yeukai Dzuda on 22 April and was not asked to plead.
Mupeti was remanded in custody to June 1 and advised to apply to the High Court for bail.
The National Prosecuting Authority alleged that sometime in November 2021, Mupeti made false representations to one Mirriam Zihumo acting in connivance with one Lincell Allimonis, who is still at large and is believed to be in Oman. The prosecution said:
Her accomplice Allimos went on to send Zihumo air tickets and a VISA
Zihumo first knew something was wrong when her air tickets, written in Arabic, showed the destination as Oman, and not Dubai.
Mupeti, it is alleged, processed a fake medical examination report and polymerase chain reaction test for Zihumo.
When Zihumo landed in Oman, her apprehension only heightened when her passport was taken away by men acting in connivance with Mupeti, the charges say.
She was “sold” to a man who would be her “employer.” The prosecution added:
She was denied food, worked around the clock, and was kept indoors for three months.
Zihumo only managed to return home after lying to the man holding her that she had a wedding planned in Zimbabwe and that her family had bought her the tickets.
Mupeti allegedly used the same trick on Isabel Mushoriwa who was subjected to abuse for three weeks and only escaped after lying that her mother had died. Alleged the prosecution:
She even stated that if she failed to attend her mother’s burial in Zimbabwe, she will suffer from a mental illness.
The “employer” allegedly demanded to see the burial order before releasing her. He also wanted her family to buy a return ticket, which they did to secure her freedom.
Mupeti is charged with violating the Trafficking in Persons Act.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s cabinet approved the principles of the Trafficking in Persons (Amendment) Bill which will offer more support to victims of trafficking by obligating the state to repatriate them and also provide counselling services.