Monday, March 28, 2016

Over 150 Women Still Stuck in Kuwait
March 28, 2016
Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT yesterday said more Zimbabwean women were stranded in Kuwait and require assistance to be repatriated home after they were lured to that country by a syndicate of human traffickers promising lucrative jobs. Victims in the well-knit scam believed to be involving Kuwait embassy staff in Harare were promised employment. On arrival in the tiny Arab country they were forced into prostitution and other menial jobs.

So far 15 women have been successfully brought home with the assistance of the Zimbabwe embassy in Kuwait. Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha yesterday confirmed that a large number of Zimbabwean women were still trapped in Kuwait although he did not give exact figures.

He said Government was doing everything in its power to assist the victims. Ambassador Bimha said it was possible that Zimbabweans could have fallen for the same hoax in other countries but there was no evidence to that effect yet.

“Yes, we still have a number of people who need assistance in Kuwait,” said Ambassador Bimha. “I do not have the exact figures with me, I have to check with our embassy in Kuwait for the latest figures,” said Ambassador Bimha.

“So far we have only received information from Kuwait but we have about 45 diplomatic missions and it can be possible that some Zimbabweans have fallen victim to the same problem in other countries. “We will advise as and when we get more information.”

In a statement yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry urged Zimbabweans to be wary of dubious scholarships and employment advertisements on the internet. The ministry said with regard to the Kuwait issue, the law would be implemented to the fullest to ensure that perpetrators were brought to book.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is greatly concerned with the recent reports coming from our embassy in the State of Kuwait and those appearing in the media regarding Zimbabweans who have been recruited for work or scholarships in the Middle East, were in the process, duped by human traffickers,” reads part of the statement.

“The ministry refers to Zimbabwe’s law (against human trafficking) Trafficking in Persons Chapter 9/25 of June 2014, on prohibition, prevention and prosecution of people involved in human tracking. This piece of legislation would be executed to its full potential so that perpetrators of this heinous crime face the full wrath of the law.”

The ministry said an inter-ministerial committee encompassing relevant stakeholders has been set up to probe all reports of human trafficking from Kuwait. It said all embassies were ready to assist Zimbabweans who might require assistance abroad.

So far seven people believed to be part of the human trafficking syndicate have appeared in court in connection with the human trafficking scam. The accused persons are Josephine Gondo (57) and Tonderai Gondwa (26) from Chitungwiza, Fadzai Nyahondo (19) from Glen Norah and Edgar Muchineripi Gora (33) from Waterfalls.

The other three are Lucia Chibayambuya (26) and her brother Lawrence Chibayambuya (23) and Faith Magora, all from Marondera. A Kuwait embassy staff, Brenda Avril May (62), also appeared in court over the same matter.

Bulawayo Court Orders Cops to Refund Women

March 28, 2016
Mashudu Netsianda
Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

A Bulawayo High Court judge has ruled that the arrest and fining of three local women, for allegedly loitering for the purposes of prostitution, was illegal and ordered the police to refund them within two weeks.

Justice Nokuthula Moyo made the ruling following a court application by Lindiwe Moyo, Lingiwe Moyo and Renny Sithole citing the Minister of Home Affairs Ignatius Chombo, Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri, the officer-in-charge of Bulawayo Central Police Station, Inspector Loyiso Mpofu and one Constable Chipfira as respondents.

The three, through their lawyers, Phulu and Ncube Legal Practitioners, accused the police of violating their constitutional rights and detaining them unlawfully.

The trio was arrested on April 17, 2015 shortly after 5am while standing outside Golden Grill food outlet situated between Fort Street and 10th Avenue .

They denied any wrongdoing, saying they were forced to pay admission of guilt fines.

“The arrest of the applicants on April 17, 2015 is hereby declared illegal and their subsequent payment of admission of guilt fines is declared invalid and they are therefore entitled to a refund for the money paid as fines,” ruled Justice Moyo. The judge also ordered Inspector Mpofu and his subordinate, Constable Chipfira to pay the legal costs.

The three women, in their application sought an order compelling the respondents to refund each of them the $5 admission fine.

In her founding affidavit, Lindiwe said the charge under which she and her colleagues were arrested on was invalid.

She argued that they were arrested for a non-existent crime of loitering for the purposes of prostitution, which was provided for under Section 4 of the Miscellaneous Causes Act that was repealed in 2006.

Under the new law, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, there is no longer a crime called loitering for the purposes of prostitution.

Last year, the Constitutional Court ruled against the routine arrest of women on allegations of soliciting for paid sex in the streets.

The court said as long as there were no men who would confirm being approached by the women for the service the arrests were unconstitutional.

Lingiwe and Sithole in their High Court supporting affidavit, concurred with Lindiwe.

“I was standing outside Golden Grill in the company of Lingiwe while Renny was inside the shop when a uniformed police officer confronted us and said we were under arrest for loitering for the purposes of prostitution before demanding $3 from us,” said Lingiwe.

“When I demanded an explanation two other police officers emerged just when Renny was coming out of the shop and they handcuffed us.”

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