Date 14 March 2022
A TRUCK driver was hauled to court over the weekend for allegedly trafficking two minor girls. He promised to pay their school fees when, in fact, he wanted to sexually exploit them. James Mahachi, 52, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate Yeukai Dzuda. Mahachi is an international truck driver, whose job takes him to South Africa, Zambia and the DRC. Allegations are that between September 2021 and March 2022, Mahachi used an agent, Brighton Nyamandi, who is currently on the run, to recruit the two minor girls, aged 13 and 17, from Hurungwe. It is the State’s case that Mahachi transported the two girls in his haulage truck and trafficked them for labour, and sexual exploitation. He lied to the victims that he was going to send them to school and pay their fees. The two girls’ parents released them into the custody of Mahachi, who never took them to school, as promised. Instead, he abused his power over the victims and subjected them to domestic duties and sexual exploitation. Mahachi allegedly took them on a ride to South Africa while on his work assignment. He would sleep with them in his truck, and would threaten to dump them in South Africa, if they refused to sleep with him. It is alleged that, when he returned from South Africa, he took them to his house, where he slept with them in his bedroom. The court heard that one night, one of the girls escaped. She sought refuge at a nearby home where she met Charity Munemo. Munemo assisted her to make a police report and the minor is in a safe house under the care of the Department of Social Welfare. The other girl is yet to be accounted for. Tapiwa Zvidzai appeared for the State.