United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) has disclosed that by January 2021, over 1,000 law enforcement and protection officers would be trained to help in reducing cases of trafficking in persons in the country.
UNODC National Project Officer, Maxwell Matewere made the remarks Monday during the Opening Session of the First Series of Malawi Government Training of Resource Persons and Trainers on the Application of Trafficking in Persons Act (2015)at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
He said his organization has organized a training for 40 officers on how they could deal with issues of trafficking in person in various sectors of the country.
“We are hoping that after conducting this training for 40 Trainers of Trainers (TOTs), they will be able to train others so that a lot of officers should have rightful knowledge on the issues of trafficking in persons,” Matewere explained.
He said UNODC was aware that Malawi remains a fertile ground for traffickers who capitalize on vulnerabilities created by poverty, limited access to education, gender inequality, unemployment, and a general lack of opportunity for much of the population, especially women and children who made up the majority of the poor.
“Evidence of human trafficking suggests several patterns of trafficking in Malawi. Women are trafficked from rural areas to work as prostitutes in urban centres; women are trafficked from Malawi to foreign destinations for prostitution and sexual exploitation and women are trafficked from other countries, especially Nepalese, Tanzania and Zambia into the sex industry in Malawi,” the Project Officer pointed out.
He added that even Men, on the other hand, are trafficked mainly from districts in southern of the country to work as cheap labour on tea and tobacco estates in central and northern parts of the country.
Matewere said UNODC acknowledges Government commitment to the Fund and his organization was heartened by the commitment already demonstrated by the Government to this initiative, by depositing K150 million ($200,000) into the Fund during the 2019/2020 financial year.
“Through this project UNODC has helped to strengthen the capacity of this Fund, including through supporting the development of a strategy for mobilizing resources from the courts obtained through assets forfeited from traffickers,” he said.
Matewere noted thatUNODC has helped the country to develop critical legal instruments required for practical implementation of its trafficking in person’s legislation on the ground.
The Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi said the United Nations Trafficking Protocol encourages member states to develop and promulgate specific legislation in order to combat Trafficking in person.
He said the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2015 fulfills the country’s commitment and undertaking as a member to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.
The Minister said that, “It provides a comprehensive legislative framework for combating and preventing trafficking in persons using a human rights approach, the establishment of an institutional framework for effective regulation and coordination of trafficking in person and related matters and the protection of victims of trafficking in persons, prevention of trafficking in persons and specific offences and penalties for offenders.”