New Zimbabwe.com

First Kuwait saga trafficking ring leader caged 50 years

HUMAN TRAFFICKING kingpin who is believed to be part of a syndicate which traded desperate female job seekers to Kuwait has been caged 50 years by a High Court Judge.

Norest Maruma was convicted in December last year for selling women and girls into sex abuse and slavery by a Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube who then sent the convict to High Court for sentencing purposes since the lower court had no jurisdiction to sentence her.

Maruma will, however, spend 20 years effective after her two of her counts were treated as one for sentencing purposes.

She was facing five counts of contravening the Trafficking in Persons Act.

The remaining three counts were also treated as one.

At law, according to the state, each count carries a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

Maruma was convicted a after a full trial in which prosecutor Francesca Mukumbiri proved that she committed the offences.

Mukumbiri begged the court to give Maruma a stringent custodial sentence since each of the five counts she was convicted of, at law should carry a minimum of ten years in jail.

Maruma was also has three counts of contravening the Trafficking in Persons Act pending before the same court.

Justice Herbert Chitapi ruled that evidence given by witnesses exposed that Maruma was into full time business of human trafficking as she held an office in Kuwait.

Prosecutors proved that she did not show any remorse when she was advised by her victims that they were being abused by their employers.

Maruma and her relatives also had a tendency of threatening their victims during the trial.

The convict was also recorded on video threatening the victims not to leave their employers, saying she would deal with them if they decided to do that.

It emerged that some of the victims were sexually abused something that could permanently hound them, according to the court.

But Maruma begged the court for leniency in mitigation, saying she was also a victim of trafficking and a breadwinner looking after her two children.

The state proved that in February last year Maruma unlawfully and intentionally recruited and transferred the complainants to work as maids in Kuwait.

As soon as the complainants got into Kuwait, their passports were confiscated.

The court further heard that the victims fell into slavery and exploitation and they would work for more than 22 hours a day without rest.

Court heard the complainants were not allowed to communicate with the outside world and suffered trauma and experienced psychological disturbances.

The victims eventually managed to flee from their employers and were repatriated back into the country by the Zimbabwean government after seeking assistance from the country’s embassy in Kuwait.