Police refuse to open docket for trafficked 3-year old; rights lawyers intervene

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By Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN mother is yet to recover from the nightmare of losing her three-year old daughter who was trafficked to South Africa allegedly by her father’s relatives and police refused to open a docket against the perpetrators.

The mother, Charlene Gugulethu Moyo through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has intensified efforts to rescue her baby who has been missing since December.

After lawyers intervention, the police have initiated investigations and are trying to engage the Interpol to track the minor.

The three year-old baby was separated from her mother Charlene Gugulethu Moyo in December 2022 after her grandmother Clara Ndlovu asked Moyo to allow her grandchild to visit her home in Bulawayo and spend time with her during the festive season with the agreement that the child would be returned home towards the opening of schools in January 2023.

Moyo’s child was not returned and instead the mother received a picture from some of Ndlovu’s relatives with information that the child was enjoying the festive season in South Africa,” said ZLHR in a statement.Moyo says her daughter did not have any travel document such as a passport to allow entry into the neighbouring country.

She added that she never signed an affidavit consenting to her child travelling beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

A police report was filed at Pumula Police Station where Moyo was referred to the Children’s Court with advice to apply for custody of her minor child. With Ndlovu having travelled to her rural home in Buhera in Manicaland province, service of summons for the grandmother to appear in court could not be effected and the matter was never heard in court.This compelled Moyo to engage ZLHR lawyer Prisca Dube on 1 February 2023 who contacted law enforcement agents at Pumula Police Station to verify why they had refused to open a docket for the contravention of the Trafficking in Persons Act.On 2 February 2023, Dube told police officers at Pumula Police Station that in terms of the Trafficking in Persons Act, an offence had been committed and thus a docket should be opened to enable the minor child to be brought back to Zimbabwe.On 3 February 2023, police officers advised Dube that investigations were now underway.

Moyo informed Dube that the father of the minor child was demanding that she should pay a certain cross-border driver ZAR1 000 to facilitate the return of her daughter and this information was relayed to ZRP officers.On 13 February 2023, the human rights lawyer wrote a letter to the Officer-in-Charge of Pumula Police Station only identified as Inspector Madlambe requesting to be furnished with a progress report on the child trafficking incident and she was advised that an investigating officer Constable Ngwena, was now tasked with leading investigations into the matter.Three days later ZRP officers contacted Dube requesting to be furnished with the minor child’s birth certificate and her clear photograph, to be sent to Interpol.