Norwegian Church Aid and Malawi Network Against Trafficking in Persons have appealed to members of Parliament (MPs) to support the fight against human trafficking.
The two orgnisations engaged the MPs in Lilongwe on Tuesday to help them appreciate the various forms in which human trafficking occurs as well as challenges being faced in the fight against the vice.
Norwegian ChurchAid gender-based violence programme coordinator Dunia Phiri Mphande said the two organisations believe that MPs are key to ending human trafficking as they could formulate laws that would strengthen the fight against the vice.
She said: “Again, being influential people and community leaders, the MPs would also help reach the constituents with messages on ending human trafficking as well as encouraging people to report cases.”
Mphande added that MPs can also help in ensuring that government allocates adequate resources towards the fight against human trafficking and supporting victims.
Speaking on behalf of the MPs, Mathews Ngwale said they are committed to helping in the fight against human trafficking.
He said most MPs were not aware that cases are happening in their constituencies, adding the engagement with the organisations has helped them appreciate the seriousness of the problem.
Said Ngwale: “They have also told us that they will be able to provide information regarding trafficking in our various constituencies. That will help us to dig deeper and see what is going on regarding human trafficking in
our constituencies and report accordingly.”
The United Nations rates human trafficking as the second rampant crime against humanity after drug trafficking. The malpractice is mainly fuelled by unemployment and high poverty levels.
Traffickers further exploit victims within the country by transporting them from the South to the Central and Northern regions for forced labour in tobacco fields.
A US Trafficking in Persons Report indicates that one-third of Malawian children are involved in labour activities and many of them are forced to drop out of school to become breadwinners for their families.
Malawi is also a transit country for victims of trafficking who are taken to parts of Europe as well as other African countries including South Africa, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
Fraudulent employment agencies are also used to lure women and girls to Gulf countries, where traffickers exploit them in sex and labour trafficking