It never rains for human traffickers but it pours as on October 18, 2017 a 26 year old Zambian national, Gift Zulu had been convicted and sentenced to 21 years IHL for human trafficking charges, but will only serve a 7 year jail term. This happened barely two weeks after a certain man was sentenced for similar charges of transferring eleven people from villages under traditional authorities Mazengera and Kalumbu in Lilongwe to Mozambique to work in tobacco farms.

The convict(Gift Zulu) was answering 3 counts of trafficking in persons, contrary to section 14(1) of the Trafficking in Persons Act.

The State through Constable Bertha Ngoma told Mchinji second grade magistrate court that on October 14, 2017, Mchinji Police Station received a tip off from members of the community that the convict was fraudulently transferring three people of the ages between 19 and 28 from Mbeza village in the area of traditional authority Mlonyeni in Mchinji to Zambia for casual labour in maize farms.

In light of this, the police acted swiftly mounting a road block at Kondowole village, along Mchinji- Mwami border road which led to the arrest of the convict who boarded a taxi together with the victims on their way to Zambia and the trafficked persons were rescued forthwith.

The convict pleaded guilty to the charges and asked for leniency considering that he was not aware that he was committing an offence and that it was his first time to be in conflict with the law.

When Passing judgment, Second Grade Magistrate, His Worship Gavanala Chiipanthenga stated that the offence committed by the convict attracts a custodial sentence. As such, he quashed the mitigating factors presented by the convict before slapping him with 7 years IHL on each count.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

The convict, Gift Zulu hails from Sandwe village in the area of Chief Sandwe in Petauke – Zambia.

Mean while, Mchinji Police Station is warning the general public that anyone found contravening the Trafficking in Persons Act will be dealt with accordingly.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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