APM orders Malawi to repatriate trafficked young people from South Africa

President Peter Mutharika says he has ordered the Foreign Affairs ministry to make arrangements to repatriate 57 young Malawians who were intercepted as they were being trafficked to South Africa.

Malawian youngsters were being transported in a goods truck ‘like cattle’ when it was pulled over for speeding

Malawian youngsters were being transported in a goods truck ‘like cattle’ when it was pulled over for speeding

Mutharika said he was briefed on the matter soon after the chidren were rescued.

“My government is working with the government of South Africa on this matter. Our South African High Commission is on the ground. The children will be flown in the country as soon as all arrangements are made,” said Mutharika.

Nyasa Times reported on Wednesday that  the Malawian  children, aged 11 to 21, were intercepted in South Africa after patrol police became suspicious of a speeding cargo van without windows.

The police arrested the three Malawians in front of the van including the driver and put the children in a safe house in Ratensburg.

South African media say the suspected traffickers have been charged with human trafficking offences.

Foreign affairs minister Francis Katsaira said he was not handling the matter and referred the reporter to Home Affairs ministry.

Principal secretary for the ministry Beston Chitsamire said the government was waiting a detailed report from their counterparts in South Africa and referred the reporter to Chief Immigtation officer Masauko Medi for more details.

However Medi said he was not involved in the issue.

The story was followed up on Thursday by the Malawi daily papers hitting front pages.

The Nation reported that the trafficked number is 82 with a headline: “ 82 Malawians cornered in SA”.

The paper quoted Malawi Consular General Fraser Nihorya who said: ““Yes, there are 82 Malawians intercepted as they were being trafficked to undisclosed destination within South Africa. Fifty-seven [57] of them are in Rustenburg and there are 18 women. Their ages range from 11 to 21 and they are from Chilipa in Mangochi.”

And the Daily Times led with a headline: “Malawian children interceptred in SA’.

The paper also reported  South Africa has intercepted 82 Malawians, including an 11- year-old boy,  travelling from Mangochi.

South African television channel, ENCA, reported that three people suspected of having a hand in the mission briefly appeared in the Rustenburg regional magistrate’s court on Tuesday. They were charged with 57 counts of human trafficking, according to the report.

The case has been adjourned to September 13 2016, said the report.

According to South African acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, the victims were were being transported “as if they were goats.”

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4 thoughts on “APM orders Malawi to repatriate trafficked young people from South Africa”

  1. [email protected] says:

    They will be repatriated yes but in a few years back they will go back as adults running away from the walloping poverty in this land. Solve the causes of human trafficking and not its symptoms.

  2. Surely says:

    What’s really happening in this Country.
    The President was briefed on a hyena, action taken
    Was briefed on trafficked children action in process

    But he is not aware of the rotten 7 puzzling.

  3. Mtondoli Jonazi says:

    Well, as far as I know, most of these people always travel as if they are goats. I stay in Johannesburg and 6 years back I got a call from a Malawian ‘human trafficker’ telling me I needed to bring him a certain amount of money because he had a distant relative of mine or else he was going to take his passport, strip him and dump him on some deserted road somewhere. That was scary.

    Long story short, when I got there, I was in shock to see the vehicle they had travelled on. It was a windowless van exactly like the one in the picture (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the same vehicle as it seems some of these people earn a living out of this). And they apparently had been on the road with these people for about week and half with no food due the vehicle breaking down and most of these travellers not having proper travel documents.

    Other (unconfirmed) stories I have heard are of young girls that come by bus loads with no friends or relatives to welcome them. And what apparently happens is that they get dropped off at a place called Honey Dew in Johannesburg where some Malawian men go and pick who-ever they want and offer them accomodation and food in exhange for sex. These girls have no option as they have nowhere to go.

    This is quite sad, but seems our leaders have nothing to offer these young people in terms of helping make them self-sufficient. Truth is if a working individual is not able to sustain themselves in our economy, what about a jobless (usually un)educated person do?

    The root of the problem is deeper and it will take quite some resolve to fix it. Otherwise traffickers will continue to ply their trade and deliver these young people into hands of people who will continue abusing them.

  4. Frus\' malawian says:

    The President acts fast on trivial things that ministers can easily handle. Meanwhile the issues that needs his urgent action are ignored or he gives a lacklustre response .

    Peter Muntharika WE need to fix the education system in Malawi, some of these issues will not be there. I have used “we” because surely if you think you alone and your ministers can change the situation in this country you are wrong. This country belongs to each and everyone of the 17m people and it’s time we all own up to the demise or transformation of this country.

    Also it’s very shameful to see almost everyone asked about these youngsters deny that it’s not their responsibility. Who is in charge? This clearly shows lack of interministerial relations between the cabinet ministers and their people. At least give a response that provides hope, unfortunately this isn’t the case

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