The Malawi government has courted their Kuwaiti counterparts over the plight of 20 Malawian girls stranded in that country following confiscation of their passports, Nation on Sunday understands.
Government’s move follows reports that the 12 girls, who are alleged to have been trafficked to the emirate, are stranded at a government’s shelter in Kuwait after their passports were withheld.
Government also disclosed that from May 10 to 13, the embassy in Kuwait received 20 requests for assistance from Malawian women.
A report on the stakeholders meeting held at Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development on May 5, which Nation on Sunday has seen, indicates that women travelling to Kuwait and the Gulf region face numerous abuses, including having their passports confiscated.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila confirmed the development and said his ministry is expected to act on the issue after a report from Minister of Labour, Henry Mussa, who has travelled to engage their Kuwait counterparts on the issue.
“Actually, the minister is [already] there and he will have a meeting with the Labour Minister in Kuwait. It will be after that that we will get involved. We cannot just write or ask for the documents without hearing what the minister has discussed,” he said.
Government admitted that legal flaws in the current migration laws are fuelling unregulated export of labour due to a number of agencies which continue to be established.
“The gap in the laws of Malawi has made it easier for labour agencies to export labour in different countries without a clear legal framework to check on their operations as Malawi is still using old laws. It would have been easier for the government to control labour migration as it requires in other countries, which involves provision of national policies, law and regulations relating to immigration for employment and conditions of work,” reads another report dated May 17 2016.
Meanwhile, government in conjunction with Malawi Police Service (MPS) has since issued a ban on all labour exports to the Middle East.
Recently, some women were intercepted in Zambia as they tried to board an Emirates airbus to Middle East.
Kasaila told Nation on Sunday recently that there was no government to government agreement on the current labour migration deals; hence, most of young people going to Kuwait were doing so on their own. n