Malawi court jails man 15 years for child trafficking

The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate court has sentenced a 28 year old man to 15 years Imprisonment with Hard Labour (I.H.L) for attempting to traffick two children to Mozambique.

Prosecutor Josophine Chigawa
Prosecutor Josophine Chigawa

State Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Josophine Chigawa told the court that the suspect White Malupi aged 28, on or about 19th November this year at Ngokwe Trading Centre in the district of Machinga took
two children aged 13 and 15 with intention to take them to Litende in Mozambique to work in tobacco estate.

According to Chigawa, the suspect was working in Mozambique as a tenant and was asked by his boss to source two boys for him to be employed as tenants.

The man was promised two tins full of maize upon bringing the boys and was attempted to coax the boys to join him.

“This materialized and the boys were taken after they were also coaxed and promised to be given K50, 000.00 after season” Chigawa told the court.

She said upon reaching Ngokwe Trading Center, the suspect told the children that if asked by Police where they were going, they should respond that they were going to see their grandparents in Mozambique.

Lucky enough, some people overheard him and tipped the Police who arrested the suspect and rescued the boys.

The suspect pleaded guilty to the charge of child trafficking which is contrary to section 79 (1) (2) of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.

Following his own plea of guilty and upon going through the facts presented by the state, Chief Resident Magistrate Agness Patemba convicted him.

In her submission before sentence, State Prosecutor Josophine Chigawawho is a Regional Prosecution Inspector for Eastern Policing region asked the court to consider giving the suspect a stiffer sentence considering the seriousness of the offence and that these cases are rampant in the district.

She said what the convict did affected the liberty of the children and this usually lead to exploitation of children as they are employed in farms subjecting them to work beyond their age and capability.

In his mitigation, the suspect pleaded forgiveness saying he was a first offender and has a family to look after.

Passing his judgement, Chief Resident Magistrate Patemba concurred with the state that the suspect deserved a stiffer sentence
considering the seriousness of the offence.

She said the suspect being a Malawian had a responsibility to protect the children from being trafficked but instead he masterminded the trafficking.

She therefore thanked the people who reported the issue to Police.

Patemba  therefore sentenced him to 15
years Imprisonment with Hard labour.

She said she had given him such a
sentence to act as a lesson and a warning to other would be offenders.

Malupi hails from M’mania Village, in the Area of Traditional Authority Chikweo in Machinga district.

Section 79 of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act states that; (1) A person who takes part in any transaction the object or one of the
objects of which is child trafficking commits an offence and shall be liable to imprisonment for life. (2) For the purpose of this section,
child trafficking means the recruitment, transaction, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation.

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