2 police officers, health officer arrested for human trafficking to middle east

Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza says two police officers and a medical officer at Kamuzu Central Hospital all in Lilongwe have been arrested as the government intensifies its fight against human trafficking.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday together with Minister of Labour  Vera Kamtukule, Sendeza said Malawians who are trafficked to Oman and other middle east countries work in extreme bad conditions as they face sexual harassment, slavery and non payment of their salaries by their employers.

Labour Minister Vera Kantukule
She condemned illegal recruitment agencies that are leading to human trafficking and labour migration which have gone rampant in the country.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Friday at a press briefing held under the theme “Trapped in Oman,” Sendeza said many  Malawians seeking employment in foreign nations are working under unfavourable and unfair working conditions forcing them to cry out for help from the government.
Homeland Security Jean Sendeza

“Issues to do with Trafficking in Persons are increasing due to unregistered agencies in the country from which a lot of cases are already in the courts.

“Most people working outside the country are facing a lot of challenges after being cheated that they will find job opportunities and yet it is modern slavery,” she said.
 She, therefore, encouraged all Malawians to report any acts of trafficking in persons to the nearest police in their localities.
Sendeza also highlighted that investigations are underway to avail all those involved in the business that is rendering many to dire situations.
“My office has been informed that one of the police officers at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) who was involved in the clearing processes has been arrested together with a police officer from Area 30 and a health officer from Kamuzu Central Hospital,” Sendeza said.
Meanwhile, seven cases have been concluded by the courts and 71 other cases are still under scrutiny.
On her part, Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule highlighted that most of the current job agencies sending people abroad are illegal and the ministry is not aware of them.
“Our recent problem is with those that went to Oman.
“We are unable to assist them because we are being denied entry into the country and we do not have any bilateral or international agreements with them. However, we are using our embassy in Kuwait to find out more.
“The current situation is very sad and heart breaking. Our people are being trafficked as this is done outside the confines of the law and most of them are either underpaid or not paid at all,” she said.
Kamtukule further added that her Ministry is under discussion with Job Centre that has expressed interest in leading as a legitimate institution regarding labour migration issues.
“We are ensuring that we are working with our partners, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), to help us assist Job Centre to formalise their institution.
“We are going to amend our guidelines to reflect that if you are not a member of the institution then you are illegal,” Kamtukule said.
She further added that the Southern Africa Development Corporation (SADC) is working hand in hand with member countries to ensure a reduction in the porousness of boarders to end illegal migration and trafficking in persons.
She, therefore, pleaded with all Malawians to be patriotic and inform them whenever they suspect such a behaviour in their communities.

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