KUWAIT CITY, May 2: A state newspaper in Zimbabwe reported that another 32 Zimbabwean women allegedly trafficked to Kuwait in recent months have arrived back home, reports Al-Rai daily.
Some of the women looked pregnant. A cabinet minister says the women were traumatized by the experience.
This is the second group of women the authorities have managed to bring home from Kuwait. They were lured to work in Kuwait in the hope of decent jobs as waitresses and maids but appear to have been made virtual house prisoners upon their arrival.
In this case, a wealthy Zimbabwean businessman Wicknell Chivayo paid for their tickets, according to state media. The Sunday Mail says a team of doctors and psychologists will now help the women after their ordeal.
The paper says there may have been up to 200 Zimbabwean women stuck in Kuwait: but it’s not clear how many are still there waiting for help.
In the meantime, journalists were Saturday left disappointed after they were prevented by government ministers from witnessing the arrival of the women from Kuwait at the Harare International Airport.
Over a dozen journalists who drove to the airport hoping to get face to face interviews with the women were made to wait for hours inside the airport building unknowing that the government officials who had also arrived to meet the women had in fact arranged to have the women whisked away outside the knowledge of the media.
The media was only left to hear the “horrific” accounts of the women through a snap press conference which was addressed by cabinet ministers within airport premises.
The ministers were part of an inter-ministerial team that has been set up by government to get to the bottom of the trafficking scandal, look into the affairs of those repatriated and those who remained in Kuwait voluntarily or otherwise.
Among the ministers were Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Foreign Affairs), Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare), David Parirenyatwa (Health) and Nyasha Chikwinya (Women Affairs).
Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, who led a parliamentary delegation that facilitated the victims’ repatriation and further accompanied them back home, apologized to journalists for the “confusion that took place” adding “it was not intentional”. He was however quick to say this was to state that the victims were entitled to their privacy, and described the women’s experiences in Kuwait as “unsavory”.