Harare, 23 May 2016 - IOM Zimbabwe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supported the Government of Zimbabwe in convening a two- day Adoption Workshop for the National Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons (TiP) in Harare from 18 to 19 May 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to review, finalize and adopt the Draft TiP National Plan of Action for the period 2016 to 2018. The workshop is follow up on preceding processes that include the signing of the Trafficking in Persons Act into law in July 2014 as well as the appointment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on TiP in February 2016.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. I.S Chombo who officially opened the workshop, welcomed the support the Government of Zimbabwe has received from cooperating partners such as IOM and UNODC on TiP. He noted that the Government of Zimbabwe is eager to expedite the full implementation of the National Plan of Action so as to operationalize the TiP Act and importantly to assist victims of trafficking. Furthermore, Dr Chombo lamented the fact that the implementation of the National Plan of Action on TiP had been over-taken by the events of the Kuwait TiP case but he remained optimistic that the case provides practical experience which will enable the government to come up with a comprehensive TiP National Plan of Action.
Speaking during the workshop, the IOM Chief of Mission, Ms. Lily Sanya stressed the importance of adopting a “rights based” approach to trafficking, noting that, “The rights-based approach integrates the norms, standards and principles of international human rights system into legislation, policies, programmes and practices”. She implored the government to reflect and mainstream the interests of the victims of trafficking in the various proposed activities.
The draft TiP National Plan of Action is premised on 4 overarching pillars of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership (4Ps). The plan underscores the importance of prevention activities while the protection, wellbeing, security of the victims of trafficking is paramount. Furthermore the prosecution of perpetrators of human trafficking is essential in dealing with the crime while concerted effort between state and non-state actors and collaboration with regional and international actors is critical in fighting human trafficking.
The adoption process of the National Action Plan on TiP comes at a time Zimbabwe is dealing with a case of trafficking in persons involving over 200 Zimbabwean women who were trafficked to Kuwait. To date the government working with partners has facilitated the return of 78 female victims of Trafficking from Kuwait.
The National Action Plan on TiP now awaits endorsement by the Minister of Home Affairs and launch by the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe in the coming weeks.