Women and girls in the border towns of Zimbabwe are at high risk of falling victims to human trafficking due to the high movement of haulage truck drivers, believed to aid the illegal migration of people to neighboring South Africa, Botswana and other countries.
According to a 2016 United States Embassy in Zimbabwe office report on Trafficking in Persons 2016, women and girls from border towns are at high risk of succumbing to human trafficking from long distance truck drivers.
The report indicated that Zimbabwean young girls and women are reportedly exported illegally to neighboring Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Botswana where they are subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in brothels.
A bartender at Mapinga, a transit post for haulage trucks, Nyasha Makundundu noted that child prostitution had become rampant especially in border towns which could be contributing to human trafficking.
“I work here and most of the youth girls here are into prostitution some as young as nine years old, some come with their mothers. Am grateful for such an education you are bringing, it will help these young girls and women,” said Makurundundu, during a human trafficking awareness campaign workshop.
She explained that the hash economic situation prevailing in the country coupled with stiff competition for clients by sex workers has exposed women in Mapinga to human trafficking.
Camilious Machingura, a Programmes officer at Zimbabwe Community Development Association (ZCDA) noted that Zimbabwe is both a transit and destination of migrants from the great lakes and neighboring countries.
“Zimbabwe hosts a significant population of migrants who came to the country more than 5 decades ago. Also internal migration caused by economic hardships. So it is of great importance to have these awareness programmes,” said Machingura.
ZCDA is implementing the Rights of Migrants in Action project and has carried out human trafficking awareness campaigns through cinematography in vulnerable migrant communities along the migration corridors in Alaska, Makonde, Elephant’s walk, Hurungwe, Nyamapanda Border post and Mutoko.
The Government of Zimbabwe launched the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) National Plan of Action (NAPLAC) so as to implement the Trafficking in Persons Act passed in 2014 to fight against the vice that continues to destroy the future of women and girls.
Through the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee, the government has developed the TiP NAPLAC as the country’s roadmap for the implementation of its obligations under the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.