Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE Government has rescued about 120 Zimbabwean women from Kuwait where some had been turned into sex slaves.
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Cde Nyasha Chikwinya told The Chronicle that since President Mugabe tasked three Cabinet ministers to lead the process of repatriating Zimbabwean women still in the Arab emirate earlier this year, about 120 had been rescued.
“On a positive note, my Government has brought home about 120 Zimbabwean women from Kuwaiti captivity and we are still finding ways of ending this human trafficking of our women to that country,” she said.
Cde Chikwinya encouraged Zimbabweans to be happy with the local economic, political and social conditions saying they were more favourable compared to some countries.
“I urge all Zimbabweans to be comfortable here. As I am speaking, a lot of Zimbabweans are in bondage in Kuwait, they are being treated like dogs or other useless animals,” she said.
“My ministry is in the process of coming up with programmes aimed at empowering women in the country so that they remain in their beloved country. It is quite disheartening to hear that our children are being treated like dogs in Kuwait, sleeping on top of roofs guarding other people while they sleep yet as a government we have a lot of things to do for the upkeep of our children.”
In March, Brenda Avril May, a secretary at the Kuwait Embassy in Harare, was arrested on allegations of facilitating the processing of visas for the victims who are now stuck in the emirate.
Over the years, many Zimbabwean women have been lured to Kuwait on the pretext of lucrative jobs, only to be forced into virtual slave labour and sex work.
Kuwait has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world and the sixth-largest oil reserves, and its currency – the dinar – is the highest valued currency across the globe.
Such statistics entice thousands of Africans, especially women, to move to that country.
In 2014, the Government enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act (Chapter 10:20) to domesticate the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.