Twelve Zimbabweans Charged With Trafficking Minors Through Botswana

What You Need to Know:

Twelve Zimbabwean men have appeared in a Botswana court today to face charges of human trafficking and entering the country illegally. 

The court alleges eleven of the twelve men illegally entered Botswana through Ramokgwebana village on the 29th of March. According to documents shown to the court, the twelfth man, Khaya Ngwenya, entered the country legally, but used his vehicle to traffick minors from Zimbabwe into Jackalas No. 1 Village in Botswana. 

Above: Ramokgwebana Village, where the accused allegedly entered Botswana

All the minors involved have been handed over to social services and will most likely be repatriated to Zimbabwe. 

Above: Jackalas No. 1 Village, where the children were allegedly trafficked, northeast of Ramokgwebana Village

The Details:

The court’s Magistrate, Ditebogo Ntuli, alleges the men were attempting to reach South Africa through Botswana, as the men had no known residences in the country. Thus, the twelve men have been declared a flight risk and shall remain in custody until their second court appearance on April 19th. 

Each year, thousands of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants make their way into various Southern African nations in search for work. The economic situation in Zimbabwe is tough, and the country heavily relies on NGOs and international food aid to provide for its citizens. 

A 2003 report conducted by Gwen N. Lesetedi and Tirelo Modie-Moroka from the University of Botswana claims, “more than 36 000 Zimbabweans are deported each year from Botswana, even though the numbers could be higher as they keep coming back.” Given the date of the report the number of illegal Zimbabweans entering the country today could indeed be much higher. 

Adding to the issue is the strong current of xenophobia which runs through many Southern African nations, as a result, illegal immigrants are less likely to attempt to gain legal entry into a country. In 2023 in South Africa, a wave of xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans, Nigerians and Congolese swept the nation. This culminated in a press release by the Nigerian Government in early February of this year urging its nationals living in the country to refrain from large celebrations if Nigeria won against South Africa during the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final for fear of xenophobic attacks. 

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Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.