Blantyre — World Vision Malawi's Mkhumba Area Development Programme (ADP) in Phalombe is advocating for a reduction to the high rate of child trafficking in the district.
Phalombe district which boarders Mozambique is said to have a high rate of child trafficking where most of the children are taken to Mozambique to work in farms and estates.
Speaking during a child protection awareness campaign on Friday at Mitekete Catholic Primary School ground in the area of Traditional Authority Jenala in the district, Education Development Facilitator for Mkhumba ADP, Robert Chifupa said it is World Vision's wish to see a reduction in child trafficking in the district by ensuring that all concerned parties understand its evils.
"The more our communities become aware of the evils of child trafficking the better they will handle the situation. Most children here in Phalombe do go outside the district to work in other peoples' farms and tea estates which do not bring them any reward as compared to education," observed Chifupa.
He said much as it might be understood that there are high levels of poverty in the district, child trafficking should not be taken as an option for families to boost their financial status.
On his part, Assistant District Social Welfare Officer for Phalombe, Sidreck Saukira said when his office noted the high rate of child trafficking, they formed a joint task force that included World Vision Malawi, Chisomo Children's Club and other partners to curb the tendency.
He said for the past four years, there have been a lot of victims of child trafficking, most of whom went to Mozambique after being promised a lot of fortune.
Saukira said the traffickers have, in most cases, promised the children big and good things once hired such as bicycles, radios and many more if they go to work both within and outside Malawi.
"Realizing the problem that is amongst us, we decided to bang heads with nongovernmental organisations and other institutions in order to curb the malpractice.
"We know that some children go to Mozambique and other places in the country because the child traffickers do cheat them that once they take them out for work, they will bring home with them motorbikes, bicycles and radios," said Saukira.
He added: "Let us all be children that love education by being in class and concentrating on your education and never think, by going to Mozambique, you are going to enrich yourselves.
"At the same time, be on guard for each other and if you see anyone suspected to be a child trafficker, report them to the group village headman, parents or any authorities at your school for action."
Officer-In-Charge for Phalombe Police Station Assistant Commissioner of Police, William Kadzayekha, acknowledged the problem of child trafficking in the district saying they have so far discussed with their Mozambican counterparts in border posts to arrest those that are involved in child trafficking from the district.
He said his office has so far arrested people in connection with child trafficking citing some Malawians and two Mozambicans who were sentenced each to 6 years Imprisonment with Hard Labour for the offence.
World Vision has so far taken the child trafficking awareness campaign to Chipalanje, Matawa, Dzenje and Chisengereni primary schools and Ngozi Community Day Secondary School among other schools. The event was spiced by dramas, poems, school choirs, dances and many other activities all carrying messages against child trafficking.