Exploitation

Zimbabwean women being smuggled into South Africa and sold as ‘wives’

A woman walks in the impoverished Diepsloot township outside Johannesburg on April 16, 2014. (MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

An investigation into the large spike in numbers of people and goods being smuggled across the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa has revealed one particularly insidious outcome: women being sold as wives. Some of the border crossers are fleeing Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime, while others are in search of work, Sky News reports, with one border control official estimating a 35 percent increase recently, as hundreds cross each day.

Reporters spoke to several Zimbabweans who had paid a fee of 1,500 Rand ($110) to be smuggled over the border to Diepsloot, only to be held captive while even more money was extorted from their relatives. Failure to pay resulted in being beaten and raped.

One woman was held for three weeks and used as a prostitute until she was “bought” by a man, and made to live as his “wife.” In tears, she told reporters, “He brings me food every day and looks after me and he’s always looking for a job for me. I think one day I can learn to love him.”

Read the full story at Sky News.

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