The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Ministry of Homeland Security conducted a training for selected members of Parliament on the need to allocate adequate resources for anti-Trafficking in person’s activities in Malawi.
Members of Parliament attending the training have spoken out on the need for government to enhance enforcement of the law and increase funding towards programmes relating to human trafficking.
Parliament in Malawi passed the Trafficking in Persons Act (TIPA) in 2015 which was touted to be an enabling legislation that would help in the fight against trafficking in persons (TiP) related crimes.
While progress has been made in the area of victim identification and prosecution of offenders, parliamentarians call for the Government to allocate adequate resources in favor of the anti- TiP Fund to provide care to victims.
According to a police report for the year 2019, the law enforcers in Malawi rescued a total of 140 victims and arrested 48 suspects. 30 of the 48 suspects were successfully prosecuted and convicted for TiP related cases.
The highest number of rescue cases were recorded in the border districts of Mchinji and Phalombe where the Government anti-trafficking coordination structures have been set up and strengthened with support from UNODC in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee for Malawi Parliament Hon. Kezzie Msukwa has called upon state authorities to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement officers and eliminate corruption amongst its officials if the war against TiP is to be won. He cited examples where he said to have personally reported questionable movements of people originating from the horn of Africa who used unchartered routes in Chitipa, a border district in northern Malawi.
The Second Deputy Speaker of the House Aisha Mambo Adams weighed in on the matter calling for robust sensitization of communities and development of local structures in order to build strong defenses against traffickers:
“What we understand is that most of these cases of human trafficking takes place in rural areas where sensitization is minimal. As a result, these organised traffickers take advantage on the people’s ignorance and poverty”.
Mambo emphasized on the need for traditional leaders and their communities to be made aware of the crime and the law while government works with other partners such as civil society organisations (CSOs) to fight TiP.
Legislator Richard Chimwendo Banda and
the current chairperson of Budget and Finance committee Sosten Gwengwe echoed the need to allocate adequate resources for activities addressing TiP.
The training is part of a joint project of UNODC with the Government of Malawi funded by the United Kingdom contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on the strengthening of peace, justice and strong institutions.