21 Zim women find refuge in shelter after being lured to Kuwait

2016-04-01 17:13


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Harare - Twenty-one Zimbabwean women who were allegedly trafficked to Kuwait are being held there at a "shelter for run-away maids", the official Herald reported on Friday.

The newspaper said the Zimbabwe authorities had now managed to repatriate 21 women, up from the 15 reported at the weekend. But up to 90 more Zimbabwean women were recently granted visas and may be still be intending to travel, it has emerged.

Dozens of women have reportedly been lured to Kuwait under false pretences by Zimbabwean agents operating in Harare and Marondera town, east of the capital. 

Relatives said some of the women believed they would be given employment as relatively well-paid waitresses or domestic workers. Upon arrival in Kuwait, they have reportedly found that they are expected to work as maids for very little cash and told they can't leave until they pay back thousands of US dollars to the agents who arranged their trip.

According to a report from Al Jazeera, the Kuwait authorities opened a 500-bed shelter for runaway maids in 2014, for foreigners who find their work conditions very different to what they were promised. 

Zimbabwe's foreign ministry was quoted as saying on Friday: "The ministry further updates that 21 of our citizens are back in the country and a further 21 are being sheltered at a Kuwaiti shelter for runaway maids."

The ministry said: "Our embassy in Kuwait has further pointed out that 26 of our nationals have called for assistance as they are still being held in Kuwaiti homes."

The state ZBC broadcaster said this month that the rates of human trafficking between Zimbabwe and Kuwait showed "a tragedy slowly unfolding".

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  kuwait  |  southern africa

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