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Government, Vukarhani Trust signs MOU to combat human trafficking

Story by Abigirl Tembo

THE Government of Zimbabwe has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a local organisation on cooperation in combating human trafficking

The memorandum of understanding signed by government, represented by the Anti-Trafficking Interministerial Committee and Vurkahani Trust will see the two parties cooperating on rescuing, support and reintegration, as well as restoration of the dignity of victims of human trafficking.

“Let me hasten to say that this partnership is in line with the Zimbabwe anti- Trafficking in Persons National Plan of Action (2023-2028) which enjoins the Partnership Pillar of the Anti-Trafficking Inter-Ministerial Committee to establish formal engagements with non-state actors in response to Trafficking in Persons. We believe that to win the fight against human trafficking we need all hands-on deck, the Government cannot do it alone.

We therefore welcome VUKARHANI’s willingness to come on board and complement Government efforts. This MOU presents us with an opportunity to cooperate in several areas which include public awareness raising, capacity building, victim identification and support, and Information sharing with VUKARHANI Trust complementing the Government with technical support,” said the Permanent Secretary in the  Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Ambassador Raphael Faranisi.

Executive Director of Vukarhani Trust, Dr Gerald Shirichena said his organisation has contributed to the fight against human trafficking through various initiatives.

“For many years, The Vukarhani Trust has actively contributed to the fight against human trafficking through various initiatives:
* We have developed a questioning protocol used by monitors to identify potential victims at transit points. This approach allows for intervention before exploitation occurs, making it a cost-effective prevention strategy.
* Our research on human trafficking and migration has resulted in published papers comprehensive resource materials, including toolkits for various industries prone to trafficking, highlighting red flags and promoting awareness.

* We have collaborated with social services to address human trafficking, child al child marriages, and child exploitation. This includes providing psycho-social support, transportation, and basic provisions to victims. Our partnership with the police victim-friendly courts in Mwenezi and Chiredzi exemplifies the positive impact of collaboration. In cooperation with our partners, we have provided trauma counselling training to 100 survivors. Additionally, we have partnered with the Centre for Combatting H Trafficking at BUSE to offer small business and livelihood development training of survivors. These programs empower them to rebuild their lives,” he said.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are an estimated 40 million victims of human trafficking globally, with women and girls being disproportionately affected.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that sexual exploitation is the most common reason for human trafficking, accounting for 59 per cent of all cases, followed by forced labour at 34 percent.

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