Slavery in today’s world: Part 2: How are victims of human trafficking transported from one place to another and why?

Slavery in today’s world: Part 2: How are victims of human trafficking transported from one place to another and why?
In the first part of our series, we talked about the methods that human traffickers use to recruit victims. One of those ways is deceit. Victims who would have been deceived into thinking they will have a job when they get to their destination, travel to their destination through the proper and ordinary processes of immigration. They voluntarily travel from their home to the destination, presenting their travel documents along the way, unaware of the fate that lies ahead.
N.B : This is the most difficult form of trafficking to detect because the victim won’t even know that they are being trafficked and the police or immigration officials will have no reason to suspect that the victim is being trafficked.
Victims of trafficking, especially those who are taken by force, may be smuggled across borders. This means that they do not pass through the normal immigration processes. Victims trafficked from Zimbabwe are normally hidden in haulage trucks, or tankers and when they get to the borders they are smuggled across through areas where there are no border patrols. This is dangerous and exposes victims to the risk of being devoured by wild animals in the forest, or by crocodiles in the Limpopo towards South Africa. In some cases, the traffickers have contacts amongst the police and immigration officials whom they pay to allow them to go through without getting searched; hence to a large extent corruption amongst immigration authorities also enables traffickers to continue doing their horrible business.
Why do people get trafficked?
Trafficking is a business, albeit an illegal business. That business thrives on the exploitation of human beings by other human beings. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime states that traffickers make tens of billions of dollars each year from exploiting human beings.
People who are trafficked may be exploited in the following ways:
Sexual Exploitation/ Prostitution

Women and girls are forced to become sex slaves or prostitutes. They will be forced to sleep with many men or a single man repeatedly without their consent. They are not paid anything. They are constantly abused and used in this way until they die or until the police rescue them. It is very hard for them to escape because there is tight security to ensure this does not happen. Often they are drugged and are unable to think clearly enough to attempt to escape.
Boys and young men are also used for sex. For example, Thailand and the Philippines are two of the most notorious destinations for trafficked boys because men who love to have sex with under-age children (paedophiles), can go there and find them. These boys are held in captivity and subjected to abuse.


Victims of human trafficking can be used for producing pornographic material such as magazines and movies. Child pornography is on the increase and the people used in the production of such films are often victims of trafficking.
The use of child soldiers in recent conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, and Democratic Republic of Congo has brought to light the trafficking of children who are exploited as combatants in these conflicts.

Slave labour

Men, women and children may be trafficked to provide slave labour. They are forced to work in factories, farms, mines and other establishments for no or very little pay.

Organ trafficking

Men, women and children may be trafficked by people who want to steal their body parts. Organs such as kidneys, the heart, and lungs are usually the targets of this form of trafficking. The trafficker will rip out their organs and sell them to willing buyers, either individuals or unscrupulous institutions that specialise in organ transplant.
In Zimbabwe, most organ trafficking is for ritual purposes as people are lied to by witch-doctors to take certain human organs and mix them with oils or other ingredients to create a potent portion that will supposedly boost their business, give them wealth or capture the love of the one they desire.

Domestic Slavery/ Servitude

Women and girls are usually targeted to work as domestic workers for no pay. If trafficked across borders, their passports are withheld, making it almost impossible for them to try and return to their country of origin.
In Zimbabwe, most of the trafficking happens with victims transported from the rural areas into towns and mines. Those who are well off bring their poor relatives or fellow villagers from the rural areas with the lure of the promise of a better town-life. The poor people are ‘employed’ as maids and gardeners. Some are not paid at all and they are told their work will be done in exchange for a place to live and food. Some are paid so little it is almost as good as no pay. Meanwhile they are worked so hard they never rest. They are constantly subjected to verbal and emotional abuse and made to feel worthless. If they suggest that they want to go back they are denied the means to do so.

Many people think trafficking is not taking place in Zimbabwe. After reading this brief can you recall any individual whom you believe is a victim of trafficking? Do you know any individuals in domestic servitude? Do you have any relative that disappeared and when they were found they had been cut open with their heart, kidneys or other body parts missing? If so, report your case via our WhatsApp number +263 777 464 323? Alternatively send us an email or

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