CWO call for coordination in ending human trafficking

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By Kelvin Tembo

The Catholic Women Organization (CWO) has called on district government sectors, Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders and local leaders in Mzimba to do more to expose the mounting problem of human trafficking which is occurring within the country and abroad.

CWO Project Coordinator for the Trafficking in Persons Project Felicia Monjeza made the call during a capacity building training aimed at building the capacity of duty bearers to monitor and report cases of human trafficking in the district.

The CWO, an umbrella body of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi is implementing a one year project in Mzimba and Mwanza which aims at increasing awareness on issues of human trafficking in an effort to end these cases in the country.

Malawi is primarily a source country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, and the trafficked persons are exposed to conditions of forced labor and forced prostitution within the country and abroad.

And according to results of a baseline study done by the Catholic Women Organization prior to the commencement of their project, Mzimba is among the source, destination, and transit district for human trafficking with traffickers often luring those who are vulnerable and living in poverty by promising to provide them with employment opportunities.

But despite these cases happening in the district, CWO Project Coordinator for the Trafficking in Persons Project Felicia Monjeza said very few of them are reported as human trafficking is done secretly hence the need for multi-sectoral coordination to expose the vice.

“Human trafficking is a very secretive business and the way it is organized, it is very difficult to trace trafficked persons as well as traffickers but if we work together we can be able to bring these issues to light since human trafficking is happening in our communities,” Monjeza said.

“As Government sectors, religious leaders, local leaders and CSOs, we should work together for us to end or eradicate the problem. We cannot just leave the problem for either the government or the police or the CSOs, it is the duty of all of us to educate our communities and report these cases and in so doing I believe we will be taking the issue of human trafficking to a level where it can be eradicated,” she said.

In 2015, Malawi enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act which makes provisions for the prevention and elimination of trafficking in persons, but despite the availability of the law, Monjeza said without exposing the cases the law will fail to achieve its purpose.

“I would say the law alone is not enough to end trafficking in persons. Human trafficking is happening in our communities and the cases are not reported. So if these issues are not being brought out it is difficult for the law to be implemented effectively,” Monjeza said.

She added, “So first of all I think we have to raise awareness, people need to be educated of human trafficking and if they have the knowledge they will be able to report confidently to the police, and also the duty bearers at district or local level they need to have their capacity built so that they are able to monitor and report cases of human trafficking, and that is when the law will be effectively implemented.”

All the stakeholders in Mzimba, which are district Government sectors, Civil Society Organizations, religious leaders and local leaders have promised to play their role in the fight against human trafficking.

Mzimba Youth Organization Executive Director Moses Nkhana says as CSOs they will try their level best to raise awareness among communities on issues of human trafficking as well as expose cases they come across.

 “The issue of information gap is very big, so the first thing that we are going to do is to embark on massive sensitization on the dangers of being carried away because of promises of employment. Secondly, for someone to have interest to go outside the country to work is because of the issues of poverty so we will try to do the awareness campaigns to empower the communities on how best they can be generating incomes within Malawi or Mzimba,” Nkhana said.

 

 

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