Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent—
Government has dispatched teams to Germany to investigate cases where local women who were offered scholarships by human trafficking agents disguised as college facilitators are now being held as sex slaves, an official has said.
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya said in an interview that the Zimbabwean women were now stuck in the European country after being promised free and affordable university studies.
She said the Ministry of Home Affairs, security agents and embassies were tasked to deal with the matter.
“I have also been talking to our ambassador in Germany; there is something happening there and I will be talking to you about that,” said Minister Chikwinya in an interview. “There is some place in Germany where they (the women) are being taken to, Zimbabweans, and being kept there.
“This is true, we do not come here to lie, these are facts. I was talking to my permanent secretary that we have another issue that is coming up and we have so many girls that have gone out there.
“The programme started as a rosy one where they would be learning language and go to school later, but the tables have turned and this is what I wanted to share with you and this is what we are taking on board as Zimbabwe.”
Minister Chikwinya said of late there was an increase of human trafficking, where young women were being grossly abused even in some European countries.
Reports have revealed that the human trafficking agents have been facilitating migration of young women to Germany after promising them some university education.
Once they arrive, the women are whisked off to remote parts of the country where they are exposed to severe cases of sexual and physical abuse.
“It is depressing to note that even countries in the West can be involved in human trafficking, yet we thought we were in the final stages of exposing it,” said Minister Chikwinya.
“This is something we thought they would help us come on board and expose the scourge, but here we are with several reports of the Western country involved in this.”
Minister Chikwinya said human trafficking required urgent global attention.
“We would also want to talk about this horrible scourge at the African Union (AU) and the United Nations levels, where we will be showing videos and pictures of the level of abuse our women have gone through,” she said.
“At times, I don’t agree with the diplomacy that is involved in these issues because when this happens, there are diplomatic ties between countries. We have those diplomatic relationships and they need to be protected, but what of the women who are being abused?”
Minister Chikwinya said Government would not tire in its fight against human trafficking.
“Zimbabwe is the only African country that has taken head-on the issue of human trafficking to an extent of going to those countries and demanding that the girls be freed,” she said.
Last year, several Zimbabwean women were rescued with the help of teams that went to Kuwait where they were being held as slaves after being promised work as domestic workers.
A number of Zimbabweans, including some workers at the Kuwait embassy, have since appeared in court facing several charges of human trafficking.