UK police arrest Tanzanian over human trafficking
By Freddy Macha, Citizen Correspondent, London
British police have arrested two Tanzanians in connection with human trafficking and immigration offences linked to the plight of a Tanzanian domestic worker.
Information obtained by The Citizen yesterday said the Birmingham-based couple (names withheld) are expected to appear in court on Thursday.
A 32-year-old woman from Nandagara Village in Lindi Region (name withheld) was brought to the UK to work as a housemaid in March 2007.
Following allegations of physical and emotional abuse, her case was referred to various Tanzanian authorities in Britain, who sent her to London’s Brent Law Community Centre.
Because of the seriousness of the allegations, the legal body liaised with solicitors specialising in human trafficking matters. They then contacted the police who ordered an investigation.
After being notified of the alleged offences last month, two British police officers travelled to Tanzania for two weeks to investigate the matter further in Dar es Salaam and meet with the victim�s parents in Lindi.
In 2008, another Tanzanian domestic worker in Britain, Ms Elizabeth Kawogo, won a case against an Asian family who were ordered to pay the equivalent of Sh140 million in compensation by a London labour tribunal.
The sum was for unpaid wages and suffering she endured at the hands of her employers, Mr and Mrs Ramzan Dhanji. The money, however, has not been paid, and Ms Kawogo is currently being helped by activists who fight for the justice of migrant domestic workers in the UK and Tawa, a London-based Tanzanian women’s association.
Human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation is a growing problem in East Africa, the findings of a study indicated last year.
The study, conducted by the Catholic agency, Koinonia Advisory Research and Development Service (Kards), to establish the response of faith-based organisations and other actors to the vice, covered Kenya and Tanzania. The findings were published last month.
Fifty-one organisations participated in the study. In Tanzania data was gathered in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The report of the findings of the survey were published in April last year.
The survey found that in Tanzania boys are trafficked for forced labour on farms, in mines, the fishing industry and the informal business sector.
“Tanzanian girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centres and the Island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution,”notes part of the report.
Tanzanian men are reportedly trafficked to South Africa for forced labour and girls are trafficked to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and possibly Europe, the report says.
On the other hand, Kenyan children are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, street vending, agricultural labour, herding, working as barmaids and commercial sexual exploitation. Other trafficked Kenyans end up in other African nations, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
“Employment agencies facilitate and profit from the trafficking of Kenyan nationals to Middle Eastern nations, notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Lebanon, as well as Germany,” said the report.
Chinese, Indian and Pakistan women reportedly transit Nairobi en route to Europe for the sexual trade. Brothels and massage parlours in Nairobi also employ foreign women. Children are trafficked into Kenya from Rwanda, DR Congo, Ehtiopia, Uganda and Somalia.
The report blames the vice on poverty, unemployment, migration, globalisation, lack of birth registration, cultural and social norms and lack of appropriate laws to deal with human trafficking.
“Tanzania has enacted a law on human trafficking that is yet to be gazetted and enforced. Kenya’s efforts to develop an appropriate law have been dragging on since 2007 when NGO’s passed to the (Attorney General) a recommended bill,” the report noted then.
Tanzania is regarded as a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation.
Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labour on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector.
On the other hand, it is common that girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centres and for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation with some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution.
In some regions, unregistered employment agencies are involved in recruiting minors from rural areas to work as house girls in the capital, where they are subject to exploitation.