The Government of Malawi and UNODC launch new UK-funded project on trafficking in persons

Lilongwe, 15 November 2018 - The Government of Malawi, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and with the financial support of the United Kingdom, has launched a new project on trafficking in persons, entitled " Strengthening the implementation of a comprehensive response to trafficking in persons in Malawi".

The UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa, under its joint Regional Programme with the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community, has worked closely with the government of Malawi in a variety of counter-trafficking initiatives. For example, in 2017, UNODC supported the National Coordination Committee against Trafficking in Persons, mandated to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Act, in adopting a National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons and in establishing an Anti-Trafficking in Persons Fund.  

Despite these achievements, trafficking in persons remains a serious concern in Malawi. As a source country for trafficking, victims are usually exploited within the country and in neighbouring countries, where they are predominantly subjected to forced labour. The UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Zhuldyz Akisheva, stressedthat "the focus on victim protection is essential in the global partnership against human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants, and the launch of this project marks a milestone in our cooperation with the Government of Malawi. We trust that our relationship will continue to grow and contribute significantly to a more effective response to trafficking in persons in Malawi."

With the support of the United Kingdom, and in the framework of this new project, UNODC will provide more strategic and effective support to the Government of Malawi in its fight against trafficking, which will in turn benefit neighbouring countries. H.E. Holly Tett, United Kingdom High Commissioner, said that she was "pleased to see that Malawi is one of the States benefitting from the United Kingdom's new Windsor Fund to combat trafficking in persons, and that Malawi's commitment to combat trafficking is a strong political message that it will not tolerate trafficking in persons domestically." 

Honourable Nicholas Dausi, Minister of Homeland Security, said he was "pleased that Malawi is now in compliance with international conventions and protoc ols" and highlighted some recent achievements in the country. While officially declaring the launch of the project, Mr. Dausi passionately concluded by calling for an end to trafficking in persons, stating that it is "a social evil, as it tears apart our social fabric, and fuels organized crime."

The project has four specific objectives: 1) to support Malawi in developing and/or strengthening and implementing national strategies, plans or policies against trafficking in persons; 2) to bring its national legal frameworks in compliance with international standards;  3) to strengthen its criminal justice response to trafficking in persons, including through regional cooperation in criminal matters related to trafficking in persons, following a victim centred-approach; and 4) to strengthen victim protection and assistance.