Strengthening regional and trans-regional cooperation is vital in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling

  GLO.ACT South Africa - Malawi Outreach

Lilongwe, Malawi - 2 July 2018 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) and in collaboration with the High Commission of Malawi in South Africa, ran an outreach activity on 19 June 2018. This activity involved South African and Malawian law enforcement agencies engaging with traditional leaders from Malawian communities that have been identified as being vulnerable to trafficking in persons (TIP).

According to the Trafficking in Persons report by the US State Department, Malawians are known to be trafficked domestically from rural to urban centers and also abroad to countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and to regions such as the Middle East and Europe. They are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and for organ removal. In line with the findings of the 2016 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking Persons, which states that 64% of victims of TIP in Sub-Saharan Africa are children, Malawian children and orphans in particular have been identified as one the most vulnerable groups at risk of being smuggled and/or trafficked. In fact, on 24 July 2016 South African law enforcement officials rescued fifty-seven smuggled Malawian children who were being smuggled into South Africa in the back of a closed truck via the North West Province.

GLO.ACT South Africa - Malawi OutreachThe objectives of the outreach workshop involving traditional leaders were:

  • To create a forum of exchange between South African government and Malawian government officers;
  • To create a forum of exchange for traditional leaders from all districts in Malawi on matters involving trafficking in persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants (SOM);
  • Raise awareness amongst traditional leaders on the scourge of both TIP and SOM;
  • Strengthening cooperation between South African and Malawian law enforcement officials in the response to trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling;
  • Developed the ability of traditional leaders to identify TIP and use appropriate referral mechanisms for TIP and SOM cases.

During the opening ceremony of the workshop, Professor Chrissie Kaponda, High Commissioner of the Republic of Malawi to the Republic of South Africa said, "It is true that South Africa has more resources than we have here in Malawi. It is equally true that South Africa also has many citizens who depend on these same resources. It is therefore very important for any Malawian who wishes to go and work in South Africa to understand what it takes to secure employment and co-exist with the local and other citizens." She went on to say, "Many Malawians have been promised lucrative work opportunities only to realize that they have been cheated by the people who promised them good lives and endless opportunities. Finding employment in South Africa requires people to compete with others and local citizens for available jobs without exception."

GLO.ACT South Africa - Malawi OutreachMr. Fernando Trabada Crende, Head of Section for Social Sectors and Infrastructure, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Malawi reaffirmed during his speech that "combating trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants is of the highest importance to the European Delegation as migration is currently at the top of the EU's external policy agenda". He went on to say, "The EU political leaders have stressed on several occasions the need to effectively integrate migration into national development and poverty reduction plans, recognizing the importance of the south-south flows, and the need for protecting the lives of those who end up in trafficking situations."

Meanwhile, Ms. Samantha Munodawafa, UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, said during the training, "This workshop is being convened at a critical juncture where we are beginning to move beyond merely hearing the sad stories of the many men, women and children who are preyed upon by criminal syndicates to actually doing something." She went on to say that "it is clear that no one agency or actor can deal with the scourge of TIP or SOM alone, since these are transnational crimes. Hence the importance of such platforms to cement cooperation amongst key actors, both within country and across the region."

Some of the recommendations and commitments made during the workshop were:

  • That this type of outreach should also be undertaken in the districts of Mangochi and Mzimba, identified hotspots for TIP and SOM in Malawi;
  • Traditional leaders agreed to established by-laws to fight the scourge of TIP and SOM affecting communities through the Malawian judicial processes;
  • Council meetings by traditional leaders will be held on the issues of TIP and SOM and will include a broad range of stakeholders as part of re-energizing and reviving existing structures.

Workshop participants included traditional leaders from all districts in Malawi, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Africa, the Department of Social Development in South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs in Malawi, the Ministry of Gender in Malawi, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, national police services and civil society organizations. Also taking part were the European Union and project-implementing partner IOM.

GLO.ACT South Africa - Malawi Outreach

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.


For more information, please contact:

Banele Kunene, National Project Officer


Twitter:    @glo_act