Malawian girls from Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande and other parts of Mzimba district are being trafficked for marriages to Malawian men working in South Africa.
The marriages are said to be initiated by parents who want to benefit from their girl children in form of money (dowry) and other materials from the men working in the diaspora.
Social Welfare Child Protection Officer based at Eswazini, Yohane Chikwalimba said about 10 cases of girls being trafficked for marriages in South Africa were reported in 2015. Many cases go unreported.
Speaking during a meeting on Thursday, on awareness of trafficking of persons and the Marriage and Divorce Relationship Act, Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande admitted to have such a problem in his area where most of the men have gone to South Africa in search for greener pastures.
He said when such men would like to marry they just send their photographs and they are helped by transporters and sometimes parents who are ready to offer their girl children for such opportunities.
“It is true we have such kind of problems in my area. Parents are just given pictures of men working in South Africa and they tell their girls to go and marry them but sadly a lot of girls have ended up being abused either through prostitution or sometimes getting married to old persons who have other several wives,” Inkosi Kampingo Sibande said.
Inkosi Kampingo Sibande said it is a very bad practice and that it is violence against the girls which needs to be dealt with accordingly and asked village heads and non-governmental organizations to take up the initiative to help curb the malpractice.
He further commended Malawi Council of Churches in conjunction with Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre for the timely intervention to enlighten the people on gender based violence issues as well as the new Marriage Divorce and Relationship Act which could help change the people’s mindset.
Project Coordinator for Acceleration on Gender and Women Empowerment, at Malawi Council of Churches, Mtheto Lungu said his organization through a consortium of organizations such as Gender Coordination Network, Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre among others, are committed to make sure that women and girls are living a free life from any form of violence.