Security authorities in Zambia arrested six Egyptians attempting to cross the border into Zimbabwe, from where they were planning to sneak into South Africa, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
According to a Foreign Ministry statement, Egyptians are being smuggled into South Africa via a human trafficking network involving an Egyptian living in Zambia. Each Egyptian paid US$2,000 to be smuggled by bus from Zambia to Zimbabwe through the forest located between the two countries.
The statement added that the network also involved another Egyptian who lives in Sinta Township in Gharbiya Governorate who was receiving LE25,000 from each Egyptian wishing to travel to South Africa in search of employment.
The statement noted that the network arranged for the Egyptians to travel to Zambia on tourist visas, then to Zimbabwe and from there to South Africa.
The statement said a delegation from the Egyptian Embassy in Zambia visited the detained Egyptians to investigate the circumstances of their arrest.
In the statement, Egypt's Ambassador to Zambia Salah Abdel Sadek said the embassy was working with the Zambian authorities for the release of the detained Egyptians, as they should be considered victims of human traffickers who exploit the hardships of Egyptian youth.
He went on to say that the embassy was seeking Zambia’s approval to consider the six Egyptian witnesses to the crime of human trafficking, to deport them to Cairo without issuing any charges against them and to focus on the trafficking network itself.
Abdel Sadek said the detained Egyptians identified the network’s Egyptian members living in Zambia and that Egyptian security authorities had been notified to track down the network’s members in Egypt.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm