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Malawi fails in securing human trafficking victims

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Malawi is failing to provide adequate care and support to victims of human trafficking despite adopting the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2015, according to the Malawi Network Against Trafficking in Persons (MNAT).

MNAT Advocacy Committee chairperson, Mandinda Zungu, made the sentiments in Lilongwe on the sidelines of training for media practitioners on human trafficking.

Zungu observed that the country still lacks shelters to cater for victims of trafficking in persons, which poses a security threat to the rescued victims.

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She said since the enactment of a fund to cater for the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Act and the National Plan of Action against trafficking in November last year, government has not provided finances for the fund.

“Government must consider allocating K300 million in the 2018/2019 budget for the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Act and the National Plan of Action against trafficking in persons. What we are lacking at the moment is resources,” Zungu said.

She added that in the last financial budget, only K15 million was committed to the cause.

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“At the moment, we have the trafficking in persons fund but there is no money, that poses a challenge because when we seek resources from donors, how do they support us when our own government is not committed?” she said.

Commenting on the development, Chisomo Children’s Club Centre Manager, Ireen Ngomano, said there are a lot of cases of trafficking in persons in the country, with many girls being trafficked to work in bars.

Eye of the Child Executive Director, Maxwell Matewere, said there is need for proper structures for victims of human trafficking.

Matewere made reference to fourteen girls that are currently in Iraq after being trafficked but cannot been ferried back home because there are no resources for such.

He further said if resources are pumped in for the cause, the money can be used to rescue those that are stranded after being trafficked.

“We are aware of girls that are in Iraq that would really want to come back as they were cheated. We have some girls that were able to return and are able to tell us some stories and there are some people that are answering cases of human trafficking because of the same,” he said.

“It is very important that resources are provided to make sure that officers travel to Iraq and be able to facilitate repatriation of these girls that are stranded in Iraq. Government has not yet given any finances to the fund since the enactment,” added Matewere.

According to Matewere the organisation and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) met Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe on the matter and the Minister made a commitment that government will allocate funds in the 2018/2019 budget for the implementation of the Act.

At least 14 girls are currently stranded in Iraq after they were trafficked last year.

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