Now Daily Special Report
Gangs in China are preying on desperate Zimbabwean women fleeing political terror and poverty back home and turning them into prostitutes to work the dangerous sex underworld in what has become an international scandal.
The United States government is pushing the authorities in Zimbabwe and China to act in the face of a global wave of terrorism targeting Americans and funded by money from illegal sources such as the deepening sex trafficking web worldwide.
“Trafficking in persons funds are being used to fund terrorism. We wanna improve the situation,” a US diplomat told Now Daily.
The latest US state department trafficking in persons report confirms that a large number of Zimbabweans are being severely abused by the criminals.
“Reports continue of trafficking cases involving Zimbabwean women lured to China under the pretense of professional and hospitality-sector jobs, some of whom are subjected to sex trafficking,” the State Department report said.
Some Chinese bosses operating in Zimbabwe are raping their female employees and subjecting them to other forms of abuse, it emerged. The crimes often go unreported because the judiciary and police services are corrupt and the victims do not trust them to render justice, says the report
“Chinese construction and mining companies reportedly employ practices indicative of forced labor, including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, and various means of coercion to induce work in unsafe or otherwise undesirable conditions,” said the report.
The criminals also trafficked Chinese nationals to Zimbabwe to work in Chinese restaurants.
“Chinese nationals are reportedly forced to labor in restaurants in Zimbabwe,” the state department said.
The US government accused some Zimbabwean border and airport officials of complicity in the crimes. It also accused the authorities of not doing enough to help victims, stating the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2014 fell far short of complying with United Nations guidelines on ending human trafficking. Official corruption and bureaucracy are also blamed for the worsening human trafficking situation in the country.
The trafficking in persons report also says Zimbabwean women are forced to work as prostitutes in border areas, while an unknown number are transported across the borders into neighbouring countries to be exploited. Many are abused with the help of relatives or people they trust, who cause them to leave their homes to be exploited in local cities and towns.
“Women and girls from Zimbabwean towns bordering South Africa, Mozambique, and Zambia are subjected to forced labor, including domestic servitude, and sex trafficking in brothels catering to long-distance truck drivers on both sides of the borders. Zimbabwean men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor in agriculture and domestic service in the country’s rural areas, as well as domestic servitude and sex trafficking in cities and towns,” the report said.
“Many Zimbabwean women and some children willingly migrate to South Africa, often with the assistance of taxi drivers who transport them to the border at Beitbridge or nearby. Some of the migrants are transferred to criminal gangs that subject them to abuse, including forced prostitution in Musina, Pretoria, Johannesburg, or Durban. Zimbabwean women and men are lured into exploitative labor situations in agriculture, construction, information technology, and hospitality largely in neighboring countries; some subsequently become victims of forced labor, and some women become victims of forced prostitution. Reports continue of trafficking cases involving Zimbabwean women lured to China under the pretense of professional and hospitality-sector jobs, some of whom are subjected to sex trafficking.”
Other sources told Now Daily that women transported to China are often used as drug mules, mostly carrying cocaine wrapped in condoms, which they are forced to swallow. Many of the couriers have been arrested upon reaching China and several have been hanged or are awaiting death in prison.
The US said Zimbabwe was not training its diplomatic personnel to assist victims of trafficking in other countries, who are banded with common criminals and imprisoned. Many of the victims do not report out of fear of retribution from their abusers, who are often well-connected to state officials in one of the world’s most corrupt countries.
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