Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo yesterday warned political parties against using human trafficking victims and the proposed introduction of bond notes to gain political mileage.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday on trafficking in persons as well as appreciating businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo who bought air tickets worth $50 000 for human trafficking victims, Minister Chombo said the victims should be wary of the dangers of being thrust in the public limelight, as it would expose them to the traffickers who might want to victimise them in order to conceal evidence.
Minister Chombo said Government was seized with the case of repatriation of the victims and therefore, politicians should desist from misrepresenting facts on human trafficking and that clear procedures must be followed if they wanted to demonstrate.
To date, 70 women have safely returned home after being lured to Kuwait to work as housemaids, but ended up being abused as sex slaves.
Nineteen more are still at the Zimbabwean embassy in Kuwait preparing to be repatriated home.
“There are political parties that are going out and promising people that we need to go and have a march or a demonstration against bond notes, and even against trafficking of these girls. I don’t want to see any political party or anybody, agitating people to demonstrate without following proper procedures and due processes”, he said.
“If they do, they only have themselves to blame, so convey the message properly. I have never seen a political party which marches against money expect the ones you know. How do you protest against money?”
Asked on the intended one million men march by Zanu-PF, Dr Chombo said, those organising it, should follow the same procedures of obtaining relevant documents to authorise that march.
He said the One Million March did not threaten anybody as it was a solidarity march and not against anyone.
Questioned on whether Government had the budget to repatriate other stranded girls in Kuwait or it will seek the services of Mr Chivayo again, Minister Chombo said, “Don’t abuse the young man. It is the duty of Government to make sure that once all the processes are done, the 19 girls are sent back home.”
He called on syndicates involved to be prosecuted as victims who had been repatriated had given valuable information, with his ministry investigating on how many Zimbabweans in the last two years had been given visas to travel to Kuwait.
This was after it was revealed that 13 accused persons had appeared in Court with one James Tungamirai Maroodza who owns one of the recruiting agencies, having been issued with a warrant of arrest.
International Organisation for Migration chief of mission Lily Sanya, said they were committed in working with the Government on the process of integrating the girls back into the communities so that they don’t fall prey again.
Social welfare representatives said a follow up had been made to the 32 girls repatriated and they were in the process of ascertaining challenges they were facing as well as empowering them to start incoming generating programmes. herald