UN Crime Prevention Expert Bemoans Gaps in Human Trafficking Fight
A UN crime prevention expert says there is still a yawning gap in dealing with human trafficking in the country as, among others, the majority of Malawians are not aware of what amounts to the vice.
The expert Maxwell Matewere says that people allow their children to work outside the country, in conditions that are actually present-day slavery, and government fails to save the victims.
On 30th July each year, the world celebrates the International Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and this year the day has come at time cases are high in the country, which is attributed to poverty and lack of knowledge on trafficking.
Matewere has thus said that the gaps in knowledge are a major factor that needs to be addressed.
“During a meeting with traditional leaders just yesterday, it has emerged that Malawians do not know what it means to traffic humans. This is a big challenge that government needs to focus on”, said Matewere.
He added, “Malawi is doing well in dealing with this problem, but still a lot needs to be done. For example, the fund which was established to assist victims does not directly benefit them. There is no victim today who can say the fund has benefited them”.
But Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda has said that the country has scaled up efforts that include training security agencies, and insists that the fund benefits the victims.
Chimwendo Banda has however said the rising numbers should signify that the country is doing well through arresting the culprits, and acknowledged that there is still work to be done, especially through civic educating the masses.
“Government has scaled up its efforts in dealing with this problem. Malawi has been used as a transit country, but as you can see now, the rising numbers mean that our security agencies are doing a great job, they are arresting the culprits”, he said.
He further acknowledged that many Malawians are not aware of what human trafficking is, the reason they are engaging traditional leaders and members of the community.
In 2017 for example, government launched an anti-trafficking fund to support the Anti-Trafficking drive, which Zodiak has established that it does not support victims directly.