By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka
Chirundu, is a town in the southern part of Zambia, bordering Zimbabwe and is a key transit
point for travelers between the two countries. It is the site of two of the five major road or rail bridges across the Zambezi river, and the Chirundu Bridges.
It is against this background and its unique location as a border town where the 2019 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons took place on August 3, 2019.
Chirundu Council Secretary, John Mwanza welcomed the locals and visiting delegates to the commemoration and expressed his happiness that Chirundu district was chosen as the venue because it has experienced cases of human trafficking and it was important the community around Chirundu learnt what to look out for.
In attendance were the senior government officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Immigration department, Zambia Police Service, the Host the District Commissioner and representatives from the Council, the UN Team led by the Resident Coordinator Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio that comprised the IOM Chief of Mission Marianne Lane and UN Office on Drugs and Crime Country Coordinator Sharon Lesa Nyambe. Others in attendance were staff from Save the Children and learners from two local primary schools, among others.
Delivering her remarks, Dr. Mar Gadio, said every year thousands of men, women and children become victim to human trafficking. Human trafficking, often also referred to as modern day slavery, violates the rights of millions of people across the globe and has far reaching consequences for the human security and state security. She also highlighted that in the period between 2003 and 2016, 225,000 trafficking victims were detected, and unfortunately, there are many, many more hidden victims who need our help.
She highlighted that Zambia has not been spared from the scourge of human trafficking and
the country continues to be designated as a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons. The 2019 United States Department of State Global Trafficking in Persons Report highlights that most trafficking in Zambia occurs within the country’s borders (internal human trafficking) and involves women, men and children from rural areas becoming exploited in cities in domestic servitude or forced labour in agriculture, textile production, mining, construction, small businesses and forced begging, among others.
In addition, as we continue to reflect on the theme for this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we must take the opportunity to partner with the government to ensure that we protect victims and their rights and hold perpetrators accountable.
Alfred Haamunjo, District Commissioner for Chirundu, who represented the Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo, MP, said in his remarks said that Zambia was now among the countries considered as low risk areas for trafficking. However, there was need for consented effort from government and its partners. He also highlighted that if left unchecked has the potential to threaten public safety and national security hence the need to curb the scourge.
He thanked the various stakeholders for the technical and financial support rendered for the implementation of various state programs aimed at combating the illegal vice.
During the community outreach events, the public were educated on the dangers of human trafficking, how they could potentially avoid it from taking place and what courses of actions one can take to report such illegal actives in their communities.