The Malawi Government has warned private employment agencies it will take drastic action against those deviating from the Labour Export Guidelines (LEG).
The warning comes amid reports that two young Malawian women alleged to be working in Iraq as domestic workers are subjected to harsh working conditions.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, noted that some unscrupulous local private employment agencies and individuals continue to facilitate the migration of young Malawian women to the Middle East for employment as cheap domestic workers.
"This is done in total disregard of the labour export guidelines issued by the Ministry of Labour in August and government's suspension of the recruitment of domestic workers from Malawi for employment in the Middle East," said the minister in a statement.
Kasaila acknowledged that the ministry has information that there are two young Malawian women in Iraq as domestic workers who are working in inhumane conditions.
"Apparently, the local private recruitment agencies and individuals who facilitated the employment of these young women by-passed the requirement for clearance with the ministry [of Labour] and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security," he observed.
The minister added that such actions were tantamount to human trafficking which is punishable under the Trafficking in Persons Act Prospective of 2015 of the laws of Malawi.
Kasaila has, therefore, urged private employment agencies and labour migrants to familiarize themselves with labour export guidelines to avoid such incidences.
"Prospective labour migrants are also advised to report any private employment agencies that flout the guidelines to my ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security or the Office of the Inspector General of Police," he appealed.
Meanwhile, government has said it has instituted investigations to establish how the alleged young women managed to leave the country and whoever facilitated their trip will be brought to book.
"Government wishes to assure the nation that it is doing all it can to bring the young [Malawian] women back to the country within the shortest time possible," added Kasaila.