Gender Based Violence and vulnerability of migrant women and girls in the migration process

Dec 03, 2019

Harare - Commemorating the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, IOM Zimbabwe called on the Government of Zimbabwe to commit resources to the promotion of safe migration and prevention of Gender Based Violence.

Gendered power relations are exacerbated during migration which leaves women and girls even more susceptible to all forms of abuse during the migration process.

Speaking at the commemoration event, Tafa, one of the 200 Zimbabwean girls who were trafficked to Kuwait in 2016 admitted that migrant women fear deportation therefore they suffer in silence.

“I suffered abuse in Kuwait but being in a foreign land, I found it extremely difficult to report. I was not familiar with the language and the public services necessary for seeking help – mostly I feared that if I reported, I would be sent back home. How would I face my family with nothing to show?”

Women and girls bear the blunt and consequences of unemployment crisis and this is a strong push factor for fast tracked migration. Young women facing poverty are often the most vulnerable group, being exposed to severe psychosocial health stressors, exposure to criminal elements and GBV.

The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises added that women who migrate for family reunification, marriage or without proper documents fear that if they report abuse, they may lose their residency status or be deported.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) called on the government to raise awareness on safe migration and commit more resources for the implementation of available policies on migration and human trafficking. Although Zimbabwe has put in place laws such as the National Labour Migration Policy, National Diaspora Policy, the Trafficking in Persons Act and on-going National Migration Policy, it was noted that there were limited resources to implement them.

IOM Zimbabwe together with the Arrupe Jesuit University and the African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching organised the commemoration to dialogue and lobby government on promotion of safe migration. This gathering brought together 125 delegates from the Parliament of Zimbabwe, CSOs and Faith Based Organizations, UN agencies, Universities, Domestic Workers Association, the Spanish and Zambian Embassies.

“Discussions on safe migration, are especially important for migrant women and children, who often suffer from social invisibility that can result in concerns about protecting their rights being easily ignored” said Honourable Sam Banda, representative of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education. He further stressed the importance  for organisations, such as IOM, to continue with sensitization programs for policy makers and key stakeholders to push for the rights of migrants.

IOM is supporting Zimbabwe to draft a National Migration Policy which will assist government to address issues pertaining to migration including the promotion of migrants’ rights.

 

For more information please contact Varaidzo Mudombi at IOM Zimbabwe telephone +263242704285 email: vmudombi@iom.int