The government has appealed to parents to acquire necessary travel documents for their children as cases of child smuggling continue to increase exposing the young children to a number of abuses.

Following the repatriation of eight Zimbabwean children from South Africa who were found unaccompanied and undocumented in November 2017, the government has raised concern over increasing cases of child smuggling.

The children whose ages range from three to 14 were apprehended by the South African police in transit to Johannesburg in company of a Chitungwiza man who was facilitating the smuggling of these children in a haulage truck.

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Cde Petronella Kagonye has appealed to parents to facilitate proper documentation of children saying smuggling exposes children to a number of risks.

“We applaud our South African counterparts for having engaged with Zimbabwean authorities during the entire process. We urge parents to ensure they acquire proper travel documents to avoid situations like these,” said Cde Kagonye.

South African Deputy Minister of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said the move was in accordance with the children’s act and in favour of children’s interests.

“In South Africa when we find unaccompanied and undocumented children according to the Children’s Act it becomes the responsibility of the government,” she said.

The children in question are currently receiving support from the government waiting to be reunited with their relatives.