English | Chichewa | Chitumbuka | French | Spanish
KEY TOPICs volunteer KEY TOPICS donate

bullet Home»
bullet World Report: Malawi»
bullet CRC Shadow Report»

Email Newsletter 

Last updated: 26-March-2012

child trafficking
Part of the delegates at a national seminar held on 5th August 2009 at Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Football Tournament in South Africa.. One of the the traditional chiefs (standing) that were invited to the seminar makes a point. 
Photo: Courtesy of CRIDOC
Child Trafficking is one of the worst forms of child labour prevalent in Malawi. CRIDOC Director, George Mwika Kayange, (left) and YONECO Director, Mac Bain Mkandawire, are co-facilitating a media workshop held at Mount Soche Hotel, Blantyre, from 23 to 24 June 2008 aimed at building capacity of journalists.
Photo: Courtesy of CRIDOC
Commissioner Habiba Osman who also works with Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) makes a presentation on "Prevention" on 18 March 2009 at a consultative meeting held at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe by the Special Law Commission responsible for the drafting of the new Child Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Bill.
Photo: Courtesy of CRIDOC


Trafficking in Persons (TIP) has been defined as:

“… the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
We also Recommend these Relevant Links:
bullet Malawi Law Commission's Consultative Meeting on Child Trafficking
bullet Creating National Consensus on Combating Child Trafficking In Malawi
bullet Capacity Building Workshop on Human Trafficking for Programs Officers in Malawi
bullet Malawi CSOs Agree on Strategies against Trafficking During 2010 World Cup Soccer Tournament
bullet Malawi Stepping Up Action against Human Trafficking

Trafficking is one of the most heinous forms of human rights violations, as victims are treated as commodities and not as human beings. In particular, trafficking in women, for sexual exploitation is a multi-billion-dollar business, as hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children are being exploited both on the continent and abroad every year. It involves well organized crime.

Research has shown that Malawi and other southern Africa countries are countries of origin, transit and destination for transnational victims of human trafficking. Recognized by Pope Benedict XVI as more devastating than the nineteenth century African slave trade, trafficking in persons has reached astronomical proportions worldwide. The U.S. Department of State estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 women, men, and children are trafficked every year across international borders, 80% of whom are women. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 12.3 million people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time. Africa is no exception. Racked by poverty, sexual discrimination, and conflict, the continent is rife with people who are vulnerable to trafficking and organized crime groups ready to exploit them.

According to a research report conducted by Centre for Social Research (CSR) in Blantyre, Salima, Lilongwe and Mangochi, there are between 500 and 1,500 women and children trafficked within Malawi annually, at least 30% are aged between 14 and 18. The survey found that traffickers often recruited victims from densely populated areas and trafficked from rural to urban areas.

Children displaying placards at a national seminar held on 5th August 2009 at Crossroads Hotel, Lilongwe, in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Football Tournament in South Africa. Photo George Kayange
Poverty, sexism, and a lack of a security in Africa have led to an epidemic of trafficking throughout the continent. The devastation of poverty is a primary push factor for trafficking in persons. Poverty leads people into accepting unsafe situations and persuades parents to sell their children into slavery. However, poverty is not the only cause. Societal discrimination against women leads to their increased vulnerability, as “social and cultural prejudices and the prevalence of gender violence present additional challenges to their ineffective protection from trafficking.” Women are left economically vulnerable through widowhood, divorce, separation, or abandonment, and often are forced to migrate in search of wage labor where they must accept substandard employment in order to survive.

Country Situation (Tier 2)

According to the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report published by the US State Department, Malawi which was ranked on Tier 2, is primarily a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Most Malawian trafficking victims are exploited within the country, though Malawian victims of sex and labor trafficking have also been identified in South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and parts of Europe. To a lesser extent, Malawi is a transit point for foreign victims and a destination country for men, women, and children from Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

downlod now
bullet1 2011 US State Dept TIP Report (PDF)  
bullet1 2008 NCA Trafficking Report (PDF)  
bullet1 Child Trafficking Handbook (PDF)  
Within the country, children are subjected to domestic servitude and other forms of forced labor, including in cattle herding, agricultural labor, and menial work in small businesses. At local bars and rest houses, owners coerce girls and women, who work at the establishments, to have sex with customers in exchange for room and board. Forced labor is often found on tobacco plantations. Labor traffickers are often individuals who have moved to urban areas and subsequently recruit children from their home villages with offers of good jobs, and later withhold pay and subject children to sexual and physical abuse. Brothel owners or other facilitators lure girls from rural areas with promises of nice clothing and lodging. Upon arrival, the girls are charged high fees for these items and coerced into prostitution in order to pay off these debts.

Lack and insufficient legal protection is one of the main obstacles. Despite the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act 2010 attempting to modernize the Child Justice System in Malawi and consolidating various provisions relating to children – which were spread out in various pieces of legislations prior to June 2010 – the law is still lacking in addressing some of the emerging issues affecting the rights of children including child trafficking. For example, the Act alone is not sufficient to deal with the issues pertaining to human trafficking that put trafficked children at risk of sexual and other forms of abuse, until a specific trafficking law is enacted. Although the Sections 22-27 of the Malawian Constitution prohibits slavery, forced or tied labour, there is no specific Act of Parliament to punish such acts. It for this reason, therefore, that the Malawi Law Commission completed draft comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, known as Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill, in early 2011, which specifically prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The enactment of the law, however, is long overdue having taken quite a scrupulous consultative process of review and advocacy since it was first drafted in 2004. The initiative to develop legislation to combat trafficking in persons is a direct reaction to the ratification of Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to Suppress, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children by Malawi (the Trafficking Protocol). Between 2004 and 2006, the Commission carried out a number of preparatory activities for the launch of its programme in 2007.

In summary, the proposed Bill therefore provides for the following issues:
(a) Establishment of institutional framework for effective regulation and coordination of matters of trafficking in persons and related matters;
(b) Protection of trafficked persons and potential victims of trafficking in persons;
(c) Prevention of incidents of trafficking in persons;
(d) Prosecution of offenders; and
(e) increasing participation of individuals, communities and institutions in the fight against trafficking in persons.

Key Challenges

There is no proper recording of children trafficked for child labour due to several factors, including a deficiency in technical and financial capacity.

There is no clear policy on child labour or child trafficking and those promoting this modern slavery have not been punished enough.

Key Recommendations

bullet Pass and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.
bullet Expand training programs for judges, prosecutors, and police on how to identify, investigate, and prosecute trafficking offenses using existing laws. 
bullet Improve data collection capabilities and compilation of basic trafficking law enforcement data on cases investigated and prosecuted, as well as victims assisted.
bullet Expand the existing focus on protecting victims of child labor trafficking to include children exploited in domestic servitude and prostitution.
bullet Develop a formal system to identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, including women and children in prostitution, and to refer them to available government and NGO services
bullet Launch a nationwide anti-trafficking public awareness campaign.

Key References

bullet 2011 US State Department Trafficking In Persons Report
bullet The Palermo Treaty
bullet The USAID Anti-Trafficking In Persons Programs in Africa: A Review April 2007
bullet TIP Commission Chairperson's Speech

previous top next Click to Print This Page
Previous    Top Next

Stay Connected With CRIDOC 
Please follow us on Twitter Please Like us on Facebook! Connect with us on Linkedin Watch CRIDOC videos on You Tube!
Get feeds from CRIDOC View our photos on Flickr Our official CRIDOC Blog Join CRIDOC Google group
CRIDOC is ...
 bullet Registered with Malawi Government under Trustees Incorporation Act
bullet Registered under National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) Act
bullet Member of Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA)
bullet Affiliate of the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) in Malawi
 bullet An affiliate of the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) in Malawi
bullet An affiliate of the Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) in Malawi
bullet In Consultative Status with UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Terms of Use | Privacy | Accessibility | Sitemap |