The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has pledged to continue supporting the country in fighting human trafficking. This came out last week during the data collection training and rollout of Trafficking in Persons Taskforces workshop which was held in the capital. UNODC has pledged to support the fight against human trafficking in Zimbabwe.
Experts estimate that more than 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. UNODC's crime prevention and criminal justice officer Mrs Samantha Munodawafa said transnational organised crimes were complicated and required concerted efforts to fight them, hence the need to conduct the workshop.
The four-day workshop, she said, was meant to find ways to speed up procedures to collect data on human trafficking, which could be handy in fighting it. "UNODC and the SADC Secretariat custom-designed and developed a data collection and management system for the SADC region which was initially piloted in Lesotho, Swaziland, with some engagement of South Africa. "In addition to the pilot countries, the system has now been rolled out to Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe," she said.
Last week, Government said it would deploy labour inspectors and social workers across the country to examine suspected exploitative working conditions that are linked to human trafficking.
Speaking at the same indaba, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya challenged the inspectors to be more vigilant as they inspect factories, farms and all general workplaces. He said the training workshop comes against the backdrop of testimonies of rescued Zimbabwean victims who had been repatriated from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.
Mr Matshiya said lack of information and statistics had made it difficult to curb some of the human trafficking cases. Social workers and labour inspectors had a major role to play and their duties involve interaction with people, especially the most vulnerable who were more susceptible to human trafficking, owing to their social status or background, he said.
In April this year, over 200 people who were victims of human trafficking in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were repatriated.
Most of the victims were women who were trafficked to the two Middle Eastern countries on the promise of better paying jobs, but ended up being forced to engage in prostitution and slave labour.