FCR for Popularization of TIP Laws in Malawi
Foundation for Children’s Rights Executive Director Jennifer Mkandawire says many stakeholders in the fight against trafficking in persons are not aware of what constitutes such offenses and relevant punishments meted out to offenders when found guilty.
Mkandawire says this is a hindrance to the fight against the vice as those who commit the crimes sometimes do so out of ignorance that their actions constitute trafficking in person offense.
Said Mkandawire "There are a lot of gaps because we have seen most transporters are only interested in transporting people to South Africa because most of them are ignorant of the trafficking law, some of them are not even registered to transport people to south Africa so these gaps need to be sealed by various stakeholders like the police, the civil society organizations so that they should not find themselves on the wrong side of the law when caught."
She was speaking Monday when her organization conducted an interface meeting with various stakeholders like the police, transporters, and lodge owners aimed at banging heads on how to curb the malpractice in the Mzimba district
Mkandawire also observed that the police are poorly funded for them to conduct comprehensive investigations into cases of human trafficking.
Said Mkandawire "These are challenges that sometimes when they come across cases they fail to investigate you know most of government departments do not have enough funding to carry out their designated duties so same like the police they also do not have enough funding to carry out investigations involving trafficking in person cases as this involves a lot of money for them to investigate to the point that the case qualifies as human trafficking case"
It was revealed through the interface meeting that some transporters or agents collect their passengers that including women from remote areas and dump them for days at the boma while waiting for transport thereby being prone to sexual exploitation
However, the chairperson for an association of transporters Henzire Nyirenda said such things are not happening now as they are well organized in their trade.
Said Nyirenda "That's the way it was in the past but now things have changed due to the formation of this Union as we are making sure that everyone being transported to South Africa has valid documents and are not being kept in lodges for days."
Some of the transporters blamed police officers for fueling shoddy transportation of people to South Africa as they often demand bribes from them without necessarily enforcing the law.
But Mzimba Station Officer Horace Chabuka has refuted such allegations calling on stakeholders to report such incidences for address.
FCR is implementing a 'Tigwirane Manja Pothetsa Mchitidwe Wozembetsa Ndikugulitsa Anthu' in Mzimba and Karonga after being sub-granted by Global hope mobilization who is being funded by USAID.