Ministry of Homeland Security has disclosed that Malawi was downgraded from Tier One to Tier Two of watch list for failing to meet some of the minimum standards on combating trafficking in persons (TIPs).
Homeland Security Principal Secretary Harry Kanjewe said this during the official opening of a two-day Annual Review Conference on TIP in Malawi yesterday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He warned that if Malawi does not address the issues highlighted in the report, the country risks being moved to Tier Three in the 2021 TIP Report.
He said: “This has a lot of consequences such as being subjected to restrictions on non-humanitarian and non-trade-related assistance.
“It was imperative that as a country, we should take deliberate efforts to address the recommendations in the report to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of TIP.”
Kanjewe said although the country has registered some success stories in the fight against TIP, cases of people being trafficked within and outside the country continue to rise.
He said this means government and various stakeholders such as non-governmental organisation faith-based organisations and traditional leaders need to strengthen their efforts in the fight against the practice at policy and technical levels.
Kanjewe, however, commended efforts by other non-State players to fight TIP.
He singled out United Nations office on Drugs and Crime (Unodc) for their continued technical and financial support.
Unodc national project officer Maxwell Matewere disclosed that government has gazetted social workers as protection officers to enhance the fight against TIP in the country.
He said the gazetting of the issue has completed the process of empowering social workers to fight against the vice.
Malawi Network Against Trafficking chairperson Rodrick Mulonya expressed concern that district coordinating committees were not supported financially to curb TIP. He, therefore, asked the ministry to ensure that civil society organisations dealing with issues of TIP are adequately funded at district level.