According to a recent poll, Zimbabweans have been identified as some of the foreign nationals who are being taken advantage of in the care labour industry in the UK.
According to a report from the UK’s official helpline for victims of modern slavery, immigrants, including Zimbabweans, are being forced to work long hours and are experiencing various sorts of abuse.
“Women are disproportionately represented among victims of exploitation in the care sector. Between January 2022 and June 2023, 235 out of 378 potential victims were female. The most prevalent nationality was Indian, comprising 48% of all potential victims. Zimbabwe and Nigeria were also highly represented,” the report said.
The report states that a quarter of the 1,5 million people working in the sector has no contracts, making them vulnerable to exploitation.
It also discovered that the average debt for recruitment, visa and travel costs for overseas care workers was £11 800, a figure that entrapped many who could not afford to settle the debt.
‘Many cannot repay the debt, making them more vulnerable to exploitation in the UK,” the report read.
“Financial control is rife, with practices such as withholding of wages, non-compliance with minimum wage requirements and, as already mentioned, debt bondage. Poor living conditions, confinement, monitoring and multiple forms of emotional, physical and racial abuses are frequently reported.”
The huge departure of health professionals, particularly nurses and doctors, who are flocking abroad in pursuit of better opportunities, has severely impacted Zimbabwe.
The UK claims that in light of the deaths of multiple frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, its health system needs to fill open positions.
More and more desperate Zimbabweans are swarming various institutions for training as nurse aides in an attempt to escape their nation’s never-ending socioeconomic disaster.
In November 2022, the Health Services Board reported that over 4,000 nurses have departed the nation since 2021.