Zambian authorities probe Somali kids linked to human trafficking

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Zambian Immigration Department said it had intensified i nvestigations into 22 Somali juveniles believed to be victims of an internationa l syndicate in human trafficking.
Immigration spokesman Mulako Mbangweta said the juveniles were due to be intervi ewed Monday in the presence of officials from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to determine their fate.
Last week, the Immigration Department intercepted 22 Somali juveniles who were b elieved to be victims of an international syndicate in human trafficking.
The department detained the juveniles and arrested three Tanzanian women believe d to be behind the syndicate.
This was after the alert police officers at a roadblock in Lusaka intercepted a South Africa-bound minibus which was carrying the youths.
Mbangweta said once it was established that the juveniles were being trafficked, the immigration would go ahead to prosecute the three Tanzanian women suspects b elieved to be behind the syndicate.
"We expect to conduct the screening and interviews today (Monday) and thereafter we will be able to know the ages of the victims and other important information that will assist us with investigations," Mbangweta said, adding that the juveni l es would be handed over to the IOM.
The three Tanzanian women were picked up from a house in Lusaka's Chaisa Townshi p and were suspected to have been organising the transportation of the Somalis t o South Africa, according to local media reports Monday.
In August, 25 Somalis were arrested in Chipata, Eastern province, after entering the country illegally from Malawi while in September, 22 Somalis were arrested i n Nakonde, northern part of Zambia.
Last week, four Somalis, together with a Zambian immigration officer, were also arrested in Nakonde.

30 november 2009 19:04:00

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