SOME senators in the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Human Rights yesterday wept as Lucia Chibaya, who was a victim of human trafficking in Kuwait, narrated her ordeal at the hands of her enslavers.
By VENERANDA LANGA
Chibaya had appeared before the committee, led by Manicaland Senator Michael Nyambuya, to speak on her experiences when she was trafficked to Kuwait by a Zimbabwean agent, James Marodza, for two months before she was repatriated on health grounds.
Senators who wept included Theresa Makone (Harare Metropolitan) and Martha Muronzi (Mashonaland Central)
“I grew up in Marondera where I stayed with my mother who was divorced from my late father, and I had become the breadwinner, but unfortunately I was impregnated and I lost my job,” Chibaya said.
“I then saw an advert in The Herald classifieds section in December 2015 which said maids were wanted in Kuwait, and since life had become difficult in Zimbabwe, I phoned the agent, James Marodza, who operated from a garage at a Vainona house, and within two weeks he had processed my travelling documents and secured employment for me and my friend.”
Chibaya broke down, and in tears as she narrated how her Egyptian employers forced her to work long hours in Kuwait.
“We lived like beggars. We worked from 5am to 1am and they did not want to see me sitting idle. I was supposed to be always working and even if there was nothing else to do, I was to look for something to do until 1am. They brought too many visitors and continuously had teas, and there was just too much work,” she said.
After working for two months, Chibaya’s employers then took her for a medical check-up as per requirements for maids in that country and her report printed in Arabic was that she had a bone structure problem. That is how she was dismissed from work and had to be repatriated.
“I was paid my $200 monthly salary for the two months I worked before returning to Zimbabwe. However, after landing in Zimbabwe, the police descended on my brother accusing him of human trafficking. Both of us were arrested and accused of taking part in human trafficking and thrown into jail for two weeks,” Chibaya said in tears.
She said the police treated her like a criminal involved in human trafficking and yet she was a victim and accused her of being a prostitute in Kuwait.
Senators said they could not discuss issues that were currently in court as Chibaya was being tried for human trafficking.
Chibaya told senators that after her arrest, her mother had to sell their only house in order to raise bail for her children and money for lawyers’ fees. In tears, she told senators that her life had now become a nightmare as they no longer had any source of income, and her younger sister had to drop out of school.