Fungai Lupande : Court Reporter
Three women suspected of being part of an organised human trafficking syndicate that lured female job-seekers to Kuwait on the pretext of decent employment were on Monday granted $300 bail each. Norest Maruma (30), Margret Nyamande (23) and Lorraine Nhapata (30) are facing eight counts of contravening some sections of the Trafficking in Persons Act (Recruits, transfers, harbours or receives another person that he or she knows or suspects is being or is likely to be trafficked or attempts, assists or conspires with others for the commission of the crime of trafficking).
As part of their bail conditions, Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe ordered the trio to surrender their passports, not to interfere with witnesses and report to CID Law and Order every Friday.
They are expected in court on October 6.
In granting bail, Mr Mahwe said the others accused of similar offences were granted bail.
“There is need to treat all accused the same. The accused have fixed addresses and are not a flight risk,” he said.
It is alleged the trio sold the human trafficking victims into prostitution and other menial jobs.
The court heard that the trio unlawfully and intentionally recruited and transferred the first unsuspecting victims to Kuwait on the pretext that they had secured decent employment for them.
It is alleged that soon after the victims arrived in Kuwait, their passports were taken away by their employers.
The court heard the victims landed into slavery and exploitation. They would allegedly work for more than 22 hours a day without rest.
It is the State’s case that they were not allowed to communicate with the outside world and suffered trauma and experienced psychological disturbances.
It is alleged that the victims fled their employers and were repatriated by the Zimbabwean Government after seeking assistance from the country’s embassy in Kuwait.