SC 2014-04 - Thematic Committee on Peace & Security on The Status of the Country's Borders, Human Trafficking & Smuggling

1.0 Introduction

Pursuant to its mandate (Standing Order 150) the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security resolved on 10 April 2014 to undertake this inquiry on the status of the Country's borders, trafficking in persons and smuggling . Your committee is cognizant of the negative impact of porous border Posts and trafficking in persons and government commitment to strengthen Institutional structures and systems to create an empowered society and growing economy. It was therefore imperative to unde1iake this inquiry as it is key to the committee's oversight on the security sector since it bears a key constitutional role in national development and in maintaining peace and security.

2.0 Background

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the recent past, confirmed the existence of human trafficking in Zimbabwe. In particular, Zimbabwe has been viewed as a source, transit, and destination  country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Large scale migration of Zimbabweans to surrounding countries, in the last decade, has resulted in their vulnerability to conditions of exploitation, including human trafficking. On the 3rd of January 2014, the Government published the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Trafficking in Persons Act) Regulations, 2014, which were intended to give effect to the Palermo Protocol on Human Trafficking. The Legislature passed the Trafficking in Persons Act which is operationalised by S.I 4 of2014.

3.0 Objectives of the Inquiry

1. To have a broadened appreciation of new and emerging security threats along the country's borders.
2. To ascertain the extent of smuggling and trafficking in persons in Zimbabwe.
3. To appreciate the efforts and challenges facing the police service in undertaking their mandate.
4. To appreciate and ascertain the extent of the country's human security.

4.0 Methodology

In undertaking this inquiry the committee received oral evidence from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Deputy Commissioner General Matibiri on 22 May 2014.

5.0 Summary of Proceedings

5.1 The Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs ,Mr. Matshiya highlighted to the Committee that as a Home Affairs and Security Services Ministry they were guided by relevant Acts of Parliament such as Firearms Act( Chapter 1 0:09), Mines and Minerals Act( Chapter 21 :05), Trafficking in Persons Act( Chapter 1 0:20), Immigration Act( Chapter 4:02) and Dangerous Drugs Act(Chapter 15:02) in undertaking their activities and programmes in accordance with Section 219 of the Constitution which provides for a police service and its functions. The Permanent Secretary also indicated that the police service has Joint Permanent Commissions on peace and security with neighboring countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.

5.2 Formal and Informal Border Posts

5.2.1 Deputy Commissioner General of Police, Mr. R Matibiri informed the Committee that Zimbabwe has a total of 18 formal border posts and 51 informal border posts and that the country's borders stretch for 3066km. It was highlighted that issues such as smuggling, stock theft, lack of proper traveling documents and inter marriages among people who live close to borders motivated people to use informal border posts.

5.3 Mine fields along the Borders

5.3 .1 The Committee was informed by the Deputy Commissioner General that at independence, the country had six mine fields covering an estimated 2700km of its borders with Zambia and Mozambique. The largest being the Musengezi-Rwenya minefield in Mashonaland Central which was 335km long and of which 175km has been demined. The Victoria Falls-Mlibizi minefield was 220km and the Crook's comer·Sango
53km. The people living along these borders live in fear since a total of 1 550 people have been killed and more than 2000 injured since 1980.

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