Kuwait human trafficking victim recounts ordeal

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HARARE – A human trafficking victim narrated to the courts yesterday the untold suffering she endured at the residence of former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe’s brother.

She said she had been lured to the Western Asian nation to take up a job as a domestic worker.

Joyline Muchengu was one of more than 32 women that were repatriated back to Zimbabwe on May 13 after the government had negotiated with the Kuwait government.

Brenda Avril May, the Kuwait Embassy secretary in Belgravia, Harare, who allegedly worked in cahoots with the former ambassador of Kuwait to Zimbabwe in trafficking the women, was charged in the same court for human trafficking.

May, who is already on remand on similar charges, appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe.

She was released on $500 bail and remanded to June 14.

May appeared together with Nyasha Bako, 29, Lucia Makwangwa, 41, and Jethro Madakasi, 23.

Bako and Makwangwa were also released on $500 bail each but the State opposed Madakasi’s release because he had been on the run since March.

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Allegations against May arose sometime in October last year when she allegedly recruited desperate job seekers to work in Kuwait well knowing that she was engaging in human trafficking for her own benefit.

After advertising that there were job vacancies for nurse aides in Kuwait, Muchengu showed interest and was told that all travel arrangements would be catered for by May.

Muchengu was instructed to go for medical examinations, police clearance and provide copies of her passport and photographs.

The court heard that Muchengu was then advised that she was going to work as a nurse aide for Bader Khaled Al-Jeran — brother to former Kuwait ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmed Al-Jeran.

On October 13, Muchengu collected her visa from Kuwait Embassy in Harare and checked in at Harare International Airport.

When she arrived in Kuwait, Muchengu was whisked away by an unidentified agent who delivered her to Al-Jeran’s residence.

The agent confiscated Muchengu’s passport and she was told that she would work as a house maid.

Muchengu told the court she was made to work for 22 hours every day, made to eat left overs and was always locked in Al-Jeran’s house.

She was also barred from accessing any means of communication to deter her from informing her relatives back home about the abuse.

The court heard that Muchengu later managed to communicate with relatives back in Zimbabwe and returned home on May 13 after the government intervened to repatriate victims.

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