Malawi court fines man paltry K20 000 for human trafficking

Mchinji First Grade Magistrate, Steve Chifomboti, on Monday ruled 36 year old, Gabriel Galazio, from Chazuka village, TA Mavwere in Mchinji to pay MK20, 000 or spend 18 months in prison for trying to traffic five people to Zambia.

Chifomboti also told Galazio to pay MK7000 to each victim for transport to their village.

The five are 20 year old Watson Alifeletu, 19 year old Chifundo Kaunda, 18 year old Paulino Junualiyo, 18 year old Elias Damson and a 19 year old Emiliyano Joliyo who are all from Mozambique.

According to Chifomboti, the crime that Galazio committed is huge. He, therefore, cautioned that people should avoid practicing saying it is against human rights.

“The behavior of taking people without their (the people) and governments consent is bad for many reasons. What if the person gets sick and dies in the foreign land, how you would trace their whereabouts? People need to have right certificates to work in other countries,” said Chifomboti.

According to Mchinji Police prosecutor, Sub Inspector Julio Ntopela, who was handling the case, Galazio was arrested on 31st August, 2012 at Kachebere in Mchinji and was answering a charge on kidnapping which is contrary to section 257 as read with section 260 of the penal code.

Ntopela said the trafficker was in a taxi with the youthwho were looking miserable and this made the police who stationed themselves at Kachebere suspicious of how the boys were looking.

“Imagine the boys were all barefooted and they looked like they didn’t know where they were going. The police stopped the taxi and upon interrogations the boys had to open up to police on where they were going,” he said.

He added, “They told the police that they were going to work in a farm in Zambia, but their trafficker lied to police saying they were going to his sister who stays at Tikoliwe Village which is in the boarders of Zambia and Malawi.”

After being interrogated by the police the children said they used to work at a certain farm in Dedza when Galazio came to them.

They said he coaxed them to go with him to Zambia because there were greener pastures there than in Dedza.

Human and child trafficking remains a big challenge in the country, mainly due to poverty. Even though the country makes noise on eradicating the practice no stiff punishments for offenders are in place as the country still uses the old law on trafficking whose maximum punishment is payment of MK20, 000 or spending 18 months in prison.

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