Trafficked 3-year-old reunited with mother

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By Staff Reporter

A THREE year-old who was trafficked to South Africa last year by her father and grandmother has been reunited with her mother.The girl was separated from her mother Charlene Gugulethu Moyo in December 2022 after her grandmother Clara Ndlovu asked her to visit in Bulawayo.

Parties had agreed that the minor would be returned home towards the opening of schools in January 2023 but Moyo later learnt the child was in South Africa.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed that the toddler is now with her mother.

“On Wednesday 1 March 2023, ZLHR ended Moyo’s misery as she was reunited with her child, who was handed to her by police officers from Pumula Police Station after the child’s father and Ndlovu brought her back from South Africa following the intervention of ZLHR, which exposed the child trafficking case and brought it to the attention of ZRP officers based at Pumula Police Station,” said the lawyers.

Moyo said that her daughter did not have 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.

After the child was trafficked, 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 was demanding that she pays a certain cross-border driver ZAR1 000 to facilitate her daughter’s return and this information was relayed to ZRP officers.