Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

3 September 2014

Malawi: Development Partners Want Parliament to Enact Human Trafficking Law

Lilongwe, September, 3: Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy Michael Gonzales has asked the Malawi National Assembly Legislatures to enact a law on human trafficking as a way of preventing and protecting victims of human trafficking as parliamentary deliberations are in progress.

The Deputy Ambassador noted that human trafficking is rampant and is putting at risk the victims who need rehabilitation services.

"Malawi is a source and transit whereby children are trafficked to other neighboring countries through various means and are engaged in work without being pay," Gonzales said.

He further said the United States government is committed to fight human trafficking and is set to raise awareness and build capacity on the implications of human trafficking especially this time when Malawi is asked to enact a law on the matter to protect victims and would be victims.

"United States of America is committed to enforce the law of human trafficking in the SADC region and Malawi being the only country in the sub-Saharan region without a law to prevent human trafficking would help prosecutors to give aggravated penalties to the traffickers," Gonzales said.

The Executive Director of the Eye of the Child Malawi Maxwell Matewere reiterated that Malawi needs this law on human trafficking because prosecutors and magistrates will be well informed when probing and sentencing human trafficking offenders.

"There are cases of loss of life and contraction of the deadly virus that causes Aids because of human trafficking," he said adding that penalties to offenders of human trafficking were very lenient hence the need to enact the law to protect children.

He added that government is doing all possible measures to protect human rights which act as gate keepers to human trafficking issues.

"There is need for government and other stakeholders to invest in young people and come up with means to reduce poverty, corruption and unemployment which has led to increasing acts of human trafficking in the country.

Gender Justice Coordinator Habiba Osman said the law will also give a chance to victims to seek help from the fund allocated for human trafficking programmes as a way of combatting human trafficking.

"Human trafficking programmes would have a fund specifically to support the victims and other activities of fighting the trends of human trafficking in the country," Habiba Osman.

Countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania and Mozambique have the law in place on human trafficking and Malawi is the only country without human trafficking law in the sub-Saharan region.

Police in Phalombe district on Tuesday September 2, 2014 rescued 4 children who were being trafficked to South Africa.

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