Breaking News,

Airport ‘Angel’ Saves Kuwait Slave

Mariah (not her real name) could have boarded the plane to Kuwait on February 3 with a group of 15 other young ladies who were destined for the Middle Eastern country.

But a timely conversation with a female Harare International Airport official at the check-in point would prove crucial.

Mariah, a 24-year-old single mother-of-one who stays in Chitungwiza’s Unit N, was part of the group of ladies who had responded to offers of job opportunities in Kuwait by a local agent.

The women were allegedly duped into believing they would get good jobs in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait by a cartel of local agents working for foreign “ring leaders”.

This case of human trafficking has shaken the nation to the core, amidst revelations that over 200 women might have been flown out to work as household slaves.

Airport ‘Angel’ Saves Kuwait Slave
“In life never trust anyone … if someone offers you a job out of the country, let it be known by those close to you. Investigate the place before you go. I thank God I am still here in Zimbabwe and able to tell the story,” said Mariah as she narrated to us how she dodged the plane to Kuwait last month.

A simple Internet search would have told them of the potential hazard.

“Kuwait is a destination and transit country for men and women for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation.

“Men and women migrate willingly to work as domestic servants or low-skilled labourers. Upon arrival, however, some are subsequently subjected to conditions of forced labour, such as restrictions on movement, unlawful withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse,” cautions one website.

For Mariah and two friends from Chitungwiza, there was no time to do this little check as they were caught up in the excitiment of working abroad.

The trio left Chitungwiza on the afternoon of February 3, got into Harare and boarded another lift to the airport.

“This was going to be our first time to board a plane, and then travelling to a country as far as Kuwait. After all, we were promised free accommodation and free food upon arrival, we also did not pay the airfares.

“However, I started feeling uneasy on the eve of the trip. After I got the ticket from the agent Tonderai Gondwa, who stays near our house, I then questioned myself why the whole process was being rushed.

“I asked about the exact destination or the person who would receive us but I was only given a certain Kuwaiti number and told to contact the guy once I arrived in that country.

“I also paid US$12 for a medical report which was also hastily done and another US$30 for a police clearance,” revealed Mariah, her voice cracking with emotion.

Gondwa (26) and his mother Josephine (57) have since appeared in court facing charges of human trafficking and were granted $300 bail last week.

Despite all her suspicions, the prospects of finding greener pastures in the Arab country, whose economy is powered by the world’s sixth-largest oil deposits, overcame Mariah.

“I am not employed and I have a three-year-old child to look after, so the thought of finding a nice job pushed me. Together with my two friends we left Chitungwiza for the airport. Upon arrival we discovered they were 13 other ladies who were also boarding the same plane and going to the same destination.

“Initially I thought it was only the three of us going to Kuwait but I soon discovered that more than 10 other ladies of almost the same age as mine were also holding tickets to the same country.

“As we checked in, a lady official at the airport grew suspicious and she kindly requested a side meeting with our group.

“The lady showed us a text message from a Zimbabwean lady based in Kuwait which implied that all was not well in that country.

“The airport official advised us to think twice before boarding the plane but most of the ladies in our group brushed her side, including my two friends from Chitungwiza,” she said.

Back home, Mariah’s brother-in-law — a barber who financed processing of her travel documents — constantly checked to see if everything was alright.

“I phoned around 2pm and she (Mariah) told me of her encounter with the airport official and I advised her to make her own choice. The plane was supposed to depart around 3pm and I remember calling her soon after departure time and she responded.

“I was surprised because I thought she was already in the air. She told me ‘babamukuru ndazofunga kusaenda chero nenhamo yangu iyoyo’. I respected her decision and later on we realised that is how she survived,” said Mariah’s brother-in-law.
Airport ‘Angel’ Saves Kuwait Slave


Mariah feels sorry for her two friends who refused to heed the airport advice, and says she is still living in fear because the agents live in her neighbourhood.

“They must have been disturbed after they heard I had not gone, they think I will let the cat out of the bag and that is why I do not want you to publish my name … please,” begged Mariah.

A short distance metres from Mariah’s home, another 24-year-old lady whose departure date for Dubai is imminent said she has now abandoned the idea.

She showed us her visa, a medical report and a police clearance, and said she paid $50 for facilitation of the travel logistics by the same agents.

“I thank God, this scam has been revealed before my departure. I was only waiting for my ticket but after this I am not going anywhere. In fact, what I want now is the $50 that I gave the lady. But please don’t mention my name because this lady is from our church and she seems to be well-connected,” she said.

The Sunday Mail Extra gathered information from other prospective job-seekers and found out that about 25 women and 10 men from Units N, O and P have been lined up for the next batch.

“The lady in question came in this saloon advertising the job opportunities. Everyone here almost fell for it. Right now there are lot of girls who were made to pay various amounts of money to the agents who are now demanding their cash back,” said a hairdresser.

The agents’ network had spread to Harare and as far as Marondera.
Copyright © Africa 24 News. All rights reserved. Distributed by Africa Metro Global Media (www.africametros.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

Africa 24 News publishes around multiple reports a day from more than 40 news organizations and over 100 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which Africa 24 News does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify Africa 24 News as the publisher are produced or commissioned by Africa 24 News. To address comments or complaints, Please Contact Us.

0 comments: