Hundreds of young Zimbabwean women have been trafficked to Kuwait where they are being forced to work as sex slaves.
They are often lured with promises of available jobs as house helps and an attractive salary at the end of the month. But the girls meet a completely different situation when they arrive in the gulf country.
Sylvia Chabikwa, a university graduate was one of the victims of the trafficking syndicate but has managed to return to Zimbabwe through the help of the country’s consulate in Kuwait.
“I was forced to do some of the things I didn’t want,” she told Africanews’ correspondent in Harare.
“I was lied to when I was still in Zimbabwe that I was going to get a salary of about $600. Contrary to what I was told in Kuwait, the salary was $230. Also the working hours were very long, I would work for about 19 to 20 hours a day,” she added.
Sylvia explained that she ended up in Kuwait because she had been jobless after graduating from the university.
Now she feels traumatised and needs counseling.
“With all that I went through in Kuwait it was the hardest time of my life, something that I have never ever experienced and something that I do not wish anyone to go through. I really feel I need counseling. My mind is not settled,” she said.
Her friend Emmy Sithole said the Kuwaiti trip has almost destroyed her friend’s life adding that she is no longer the same person.
Human rights advocate Linda Masarira says the Zimbabwean government must fix the ailing economy to save desperate citizens from falling prey to human traffickers.
She also asked that the government ensures the remaining ladies in Kuwait are brought home.
“It is every government’s responsibility to make sure that all citizens that have met different catastrophes and problems outside this country are repatriated. And this is actually a constitutional mandate for the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that no Zimbabwean suffers outside the border of the Zimbabwean country,” she said.
The Zimbabwean government has remained silent on the Kuwait human trafficking issue saying it is a sensitive matter.
Meanwhile, police in Harare last month arrested a senior Kuwait embassy official believed to be part of the trafficking syndicate.
The Kuwaiti embassy has however refused to comment on the matter.