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Zimbabwe: Trafficked women to be sex slaves in Kuwait

09.05.2024 | By Staff Reporter

Outgoing Kuwait envoy refutes Zimbabwean women, girls were trafficked to his country for sex work. 

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KUWAIT has denied that some Zimbabwean nationals, who included women and young girls, were trafficked to the Arab country almost a decade ago but instead, said it was the work of detractors trying to tarnish relations between the two countries.

Outgoing Kuwait Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Salem Shibeeb Hamad Alkaledi claimed paying a courtesy call to President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Thursday.

He vehemently disputed the fact that some ‘victims’ were lured to his country on false promises of better jobs but ended up being abused by Kuwait nationals working in cahoots with Zimbabwean traffickers.

This is even though the Zimbabwean government mobilized resources through its Embassy in Kuwait to locate and repatriate tens of them back home.

The victims, mostly university graduates, were allegedly ill-treated and turned into maids and/or sex slaves by their enslavers.

“We do not have any Zimbabwean women or girls in Kuwait. This is just rumors, and they want to distort the relationship between Kuwait and Zimbabwe. As far as I know, we do not have visas for maids or housekeepers. This is just rumor,’’ Alkaledi said.

The Ambassador said the two countries had a solid relationship which his government appreciated, promising to invest in Zimbabwe.

“We are happy with the relationship we have with Zimbabwe. We are happy with the level of relationship we have with Zimbabwe. We hope to have our nationals invest in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a promising country,” the Ambassador added.

Locally, several people were arrested and some suspects were nabbed over human trafficking.

A Harare magistrate convicted human trafficking kingpin, Norest Maruma, who was believed to be part of a well-organised syndicate that lured the female job seekers to Kuwait on the pretext of lucrative jobs when in actual fact they were being fed into prostitution syndicates and other menial jobs.

Maruma was sentenced to 50 years in 2018 after he was convicted by Magistrate Lazini Ncube.

She was later released during a Presidential amnesty in 2020 after serving a two-year-jail term.

An American 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report on Kuwait showed that the country did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,but was making significant efforts to do so.

The efforts included assisting more vulnerable migrant workers at the government shelter; launching an online platform for domestic workers to file grievances, rather than submitting a complaint in person; and continuing to hold fraudulent recruitment agencies civilly accountable.

“The government investigated fewer alleged trafficking crimes and did not prosecute or convict any traffickers; it also identified fewer victims compared with the previous reporting period,” the report noted.


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