HOME Affairs ministry secretary, Melusi Matshiya has said police are doing all they can to find missing democracy activist and journalist, Itai Dzamara, who was allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents two years ago.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Matshiya yesterday appeared before the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights, led by Manicaland Senator Michael Reuben Nyambuya (Zanu PF), to speak on issues to do with human trafficking, when Bulawayo Metropolitan Senator Agnes Sibanda (MDC-T) asked him to explain if Dzamara could have been a victim of human trafficking.
“The disappearance of an individual, in my analogy, is not covered in terms of human trafficking, and the Dzamara issue is before the courts, with the police still investigating the circumstances of his disappearance,” he said.
“Dzamara is regarded as a missing person, but, of course, in his case we use the word ‘disappearance’ because he disappeared from the scene, and I would not say he was a victim of human trafficking.
“The police are still investigating the circumstances of his disappearance and they have designated times to report what they will have done in terms of investigations.”
Matshiya said most Zimbabwean victims of human trafficking were females. He said these were largely trafficked to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with about 200 victims having been rescued since last year. Matshiya said Jessica Mahuni (62) was on trial for trafficking women to Angola for purposes of prostitution. He said the Home Affairs ministry was investigating more cases of Zimbabweans trafficked to other Southern African countries.
“All embassies, through the Foreign Affairs ministry, need to study the trends related to human trafficking because it is a worldwide phenomenon.
“Trafficking in persons is happening because it is a more lucrative business than drugs. People are taken outside the borders on false pretences of good jobs. It affects most countries in the world, even developed countries,” he said.
The Home Affairs secretary said while Kuwait was a member of the United Nations, which has international protocols against human trafficking, the Gulf country’s Kadama laws allowed nationals to purchase slaves in the form of housemaids.
The Solidarity Centre website says more than 660 000 domestic workers are currently employed in Kuwait, most of them migrants from Asia and Africa.
Matshiya said the Trafficking in Persons Act protects Zimbabweans from human trafficking, but the problem was lack of information and vulnerability, where people were lured to purportedly lucrative jobs and university scholarships only to find their passports confiscated on entry and enslaved.