Chitipa first grade magistrate Billy Ngosi has expressed concern over the rising cases of child abuse in the district, including trafficking of children to neighbouring countries.
Speaking during Day of the African Child commemoration in Senior Chief Kameme on Saturday, the magistrate said the majority of children in Chitipa are trafficked to Tanzania and Zambia for child labour and marriages.
He said the malpractice has reached alarming levels, such that 50 percent of court cases in the district relate to child abuse.
Said Ngosi: “In many cases, parents are the culprits. We have prosecuted some of them and others are serving sentences. However, the malpractice is still on the increase.
“Previously, we thought that child trafficking, child labour and early marriages were common in few areas of the district, but our survey has shown that it is done across all the borderlines of Kameme, Misuku and Nthalire.”
In her remarks, Chitipa District Council vice-chairperson Mercy Mpoha asked stakeholders to prioritise investing in children through education.
She said there is need for more sensitisation campaigns to change the mindset of communities to eliminate child abuse in the district.
During the event, learners from different schools disseminated anti-child abuse messages through drama, poems and choirs.
The guests included Senior Chief Kameme, Traditional Authority Mwenemisuku, representatives of the business community and non-governmental organisations.
The event was commemorated under the theme Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First. The Day of the African Child is observed on June 16.