By CHARLES MUSONDA
A GRADUATE of Apex University has been convicted for human trafficking and faces a minimum sentence of 20 years imprisonment for trafficking a school leaver to Turkey to engage in the worst kind of labour.
Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma yesterday found 30-year-old Paul Zambara guilty of one count of trafficking Alice Lubinda, 25, to Turkey where she was subjected to degrading inhuman treatment as she worked as a housemaid for several hours without resting.
Mr. Kaoma has referred Zambara to the High Court for sentencing because the minimum sentence is beyond his jurisdiction. The maximum sentence for human trafficking attracts 30 years imprisonment.
Zambara was initially jointly charged with Loveness Chitambara but the charge against her was dropped after which she was turned into a State witness.
Particulars of offence were that between July 1, 2019 and August 31, 2019 in Lusaka, Zambara jointly and whilst acting together with unknown persons intentionally and unlawfully trafficked Ms. Lubinda, who was aged 23 then.
Zambara denied the charge and told the court that it was by accident that he facilitated the victim’s travel and that he did not know that she was going to be subjected to such treatment.
During investigations and trial, he failed to reveal the person who sent him to recruit Ms. Lubinda but admitted in his defence that he was in charge of organising all travel documents like passport and visa.
Ms. Lubinda told the court that Zambara, who was her friend she had known for some time, connected her to go to Turkey to work as a maid. .
She said among conditions she was promised was a salary and that she would continue communicating with her parents while working in Turkey.
But upon her arrival in Turkey, her employer confiscated her passport, mobile phone; and barred her from communicating with her family.
Ms. Lubinda also said her employer used to lock her in the house every time she left to restrain her from coming out.