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USAID pumps K1 billion into human trafficking fight

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By Deogratias Mmana

The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) has pumped $1.275 million (about K1bn) into a two-year project to fight against human trafficking in the country.

The project, called Tigwirane Manja Counter Trafficking in Persons, will be implemented by a local organisation, Gobal Hope Mobilisation (Glohomo).

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It will focus on prevention, protection, prosecution and data management in the fight.

Usaid Deputy Mission Director Jeffrey Skarin asked the government yesterday to redouble its efforts towards the fight against human trafficking.

Skarin said some gaps in the fight, which the government and its partners need to work on, include raising awareness on what constitutes trafficking, improving mechanisms for protecting Malawi’s borders and ensuring that resources from the trafficking in persons fund support aftercare for survivors.

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“While Malawi has seen some progress in this area, we encourage the government and all partners to redouble their efforts in combating trafficking so that Malawi is not a haven of trafficking activities as a transit country nor a destination where trafficking in persons flourishes,” Skarin said.

Skarin said through the campaign, prosecution should be improved so that survivors access justice and traffickers are punished severely.

Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza said Malawi still remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

“The incidence of internal trafficking is believed to be higher than that of transnational trafficking and practices such as forced labour exists particularly on tobacco plantations,” said Sendeza.

Sendeza said in 2020, 128 victims were rescued by law enforcers.

She said it is sad that most of the perpetrators are helped by the same people who are supposed to be protecting the victims.

“Until all victims are free and human trafficking stops, Malawi continues to fight and we fight together,” she said.

Chairperson of the National Coordinating Committee Against Trafficking in Persons Kennedy Nkhoma said human trafficking continues to be pervasive and a lucrative criminal business where organized criminal groups earn about $32 billion in profit per year.

He said at any one time, 2.4 million people suffer the misery of this crime.

Glohomo Executive Director Caleb Thole said the project will be implemented in nine districts and later be escalated to all other districts.

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