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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

WE hope the appropriate authorities will take serious note of the proceedings at the ongoing workshop on human trafficking taking place in Lusaka.

Of concern is the disclosure that cases of domestic human trafficking are high compared to international trafficking.

It is a fact that individuals and the government pay more attention to cases involving international human trafficking.

Yet, on the domestic front, little attention is paid to the hundreds of people being trafficked locally within the country. 

According to the Zambia Association of Sisterhood coordinator Sister Kayula Lesa, domestic human trafficking cases are high compared to international trafficking and needs urgent attention. 

Most Zambians are more aware about cases of human trafficking involving young women and girls being lured to foreign countries like South Africa and the Middle East with promises of employment.

But immediately they reach those destinations, their passports are confiscated and most end up being forced to work as sex workers.

Others find themselves serving under slave conditions, unable to find their way home because their “employers” also insist on funny demands like compensation for breach of contract.

They are forced to live under very squalid conditions, and practically starved.

Sister Lesa, referring to a recent United States report on human trafficking, noted that in Zambia there are widespread cases of domestic human trafficking compared to international trafficking.

We agree with Sister Lesa’s observation that most people are ignorant about domestic trafficking where a person is taken to a different place where they are exploited.

This is because most Zambians regard it as normal for example to recruit a young girl from their home village to work for them in the urban areas and subject her to long hours with little pay.

Others even end up being sexually abused and because they are vulnerable, they have nowhere to complain.

But hopefully, there will be a change of mindset in the nation, that human trafficking is happening locally but goes unnoticed.

Human rights activists have focused more on human trafficking beyond the borders, oblivious of the scourge being perpetrated internally with impunity.

It is our hope that the Zambia Association of Sisterhood will step up their advocacy work through the extensive network of the Church and help put an end to this internal human trafficking that goes on unabated by highlighting the scourge. 

Sister Kayula observed that the media in most cases only highlight external cases especially cross border cases ignoring domestic trafficking.

Yes, the Catholic Sisters should be supported in their advocacy work to be the voice of the voiceless – the exploited girls and women.

Theirs is a mission that Zambians must take seriously and support to ensure that no one is enslaved within the country’s borders.

It is definitely food for thought that domestic human trafficking

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