Malawi government has been asked to take the Trafficking in Persons bill to parliament for deliberations and pass it into law.
Cabinet is reported to have approved the bill last year.
Habiba Osman, one of the country’s top human rights lawyers, said many children from Malawi are also taken to other neighbouring countries, such as Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, where they are forced into the sex trade and/or domestic slavery.
Osman said “it’s high time lawmakers put tough human trafficking laws in place.”
And an association of media practitioners, Journalists against Child Trafficking (JACT), in a statement urges the ministries of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Home Affairs and Internal Security to ensure the bill is taken to parliament.
Co-signed by Chairperson Blessings Jumbe and Secretary Christopher Sande, the statement said lack of the legislation on human trafficking has created more challenges, noting that Malawi has become a fertile land for trafficking since there are no specific laws to deal with offenders.
“Almost 500 to 1500 children and women are trafficked within and outside Malawi every year.Courts especially magistrates have had problems to convict the culprits. Children are taken to work in estates while girls are working in bottle stores as sex workers,” reads the statement.
JACT also noted that the courts in Malawi give the culprits “soft punishments” due to unavailability of the Act on child trafficking.
“We therefore believe as Members of Parliament intend to meet mid this month, the Peoples Party government which is led by Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda through Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara will see the need to take the bill to parliament for discussions and passing it into law,” says JACT in the statement.
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