Police seek to close Zim as human trafficking transit point

Source: Police seek to close Zim as human trafficking transit point | Herald (Crime)

Trafficking can take on many forms. Its constant feature, however, is the exploitation of vulnerabilities. 

Crime Reporter 

Police have intensified investigations into the case in which they have unearthed a human trafficking syndicate involving a gang of criminals who are using the country as a transit point to transport their victims to neighbouring countries.

This comes after police this week arrested more than 171 foreigners in separate incidents. 

Most of the foreigners who had no travel documents were arrested while being transported by local bus operators in Gweru and Murewa. 

In Murehwa, police intercepted 86 foreigners on Monday, while in Gweru, another 82 more were also arrested. 

Three others were arrested in Murewa while they were looking for transport to Nyamapanda Border Post. 

Investigations have so far revealed that these foreigners were being transported to South Africa. They are all still assisting police with investigations awaiting deportation once all the procedures have been followed. 

The foreigners are still being detained as investigations on the case continue.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said investigations were still in progress and reiterated that they will continue tightening security countrywide. 

Assistant Commissioner Nyathi

On August 15, 2022, police in Murewa arrested 86 foreign nationals comprising 76 males and 10 females for entering the country without travelling documents. 

The suspects were intercepted at a house in medium density suburbs of Murehwa after being assisted by a local transporter.

In another case on Wednesday, police in Gweru arrested Wosith Travellers Coach bus crew for human trafficking after being found transporting 82 foreign nationals without travelling documents. 

In the Murehwa case, on August 16, detectives arrested three foreign nationals who were hitch hiking from South Africa en-route to Nyamapanda without following laid custom and excise procedures.

Recently, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said security had been tightened at all border points as Government sought to end unauthorised crossings of organised criminal gangs likely to be ferrying child victims of human trafficking.

Investigations into several child trafficking cases were also underway to ensure those caught on the wrong side of the law were adequately punished. 

The International Criminal Police Organisations (Interpol) also recently started helping law enforcement agents, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to dismantle human trafficking criminal networks by promoting international police cooperation and the use of the organisation’s policing capabilities.

By engaging in these operations, member countries work in close partnership on ongoing criminal investigations, strengthening their controls to identify victims of trafficking in borders and hotspots.

Interpol said human trafficking constitutes a modern form of slavery denying people their dignity and basic rights. 

It is a crime that knows no borders, affecting people of all ages and regions throughout the world.

In the eyes of organised-crime networks, victims of this crime are a commodity for economic profit, to be exploited and sold. 

Such networks make large profits through human trafficking as they subject their victims to mental and physical abuse.

Trafficking can take on many forms. Its constant feature, however, is the exploitation of vulnerabilities. 

Examples include, among others, cases of labour exploitation in areas like construction, fishing and agriculture; forced criminality, sexual exploitation and organ removal.

During this year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, held annually on July 30, Interpol shed light on its work combating this crime. 

This year’s focus was on the role of technology as a tool that can both facilitate and impede human trafficking.

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