Restoring human dignity: helping human trafficking survivors

One of the fastest ways young girls and women are exploited is through human trafficking, modern day slavery. The African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST)’s working group on human trafficking has been working hard to help some of the victims of this hidden crime through counselling and psychotherapy activities. 

In 2016 over 200 girls were trafficked to Kuwait from Zimbabwe, all in anticipation of greener pastures. Many of them were subjected to inhuman treatment, put in slavery conditions and stripped off their dignity much to a public outcry from the Zimbabwean citizens. 

The government of Zimbabwe, assisted several of them to come back home, but could the girls easily slide back to their normal lives? No, they needed help, counselling and also financial help. 

AFCAST, has been working with partners like International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to combat human trafficking activities and to offer support to the victims. 

More than 12 young women are beneficiaries of the AFCAST activities.

Apart from offering support services to the survivors, AFCAST has embarked on a human trafficking educational awareness in school and parishes.

“We have partnered with IOM who in turn work with Foreign Affairs which is responsible for human trafficking activities. We have managed to hold educational awareness campaigns in schools and parishes,” said AFCAST Administrator, Dadirai Chikwekwete.

“At the moment we would fairly say emotionally we have provided them with a support base so at least they have a safety net they can fall into. We have a good team and we try as much as we can to provide them with cycle social support.”

The AFCAST working group has also done outreach awareness campaigns in various communities around Harare.  

The therapy Arrupe Jesuit University has offered to the survivors has helped most of the victims to open up, build confidence and self-esteem. .at first many of them were emotionally drained and would easily break down. 

Tabeth Masiyiwa, one of the survivors says she is now relived of the times in Kuwait, and a new character has born in her. From an angry and very violent person that her experience turned her into, she is gradually picking herself up. Thanks to the counselling services.

“The whole experience turned me into a violent person but am grateful to AFCAST who took us in for professional counseling.”

Mukai Muparadzi is also grateful for the educational programs she has received. It has helped her interact with the people and share her experience.

“AFCAST has helped me a lot through the counseling groups they work with, the educational programs that we do have helped me face people and share my experience. I urge the church to be there for orphans as they are mostly the ones to fall for such traps.”

Many of the young women and men trafficked across the world, are promised jobs and attractive remuneration which in most cases is not provided. 

By Nonhlanhla Ngwenya 

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