Four men in Malawi are in police custody after being nabbed for child trafficking in Phalombe, the police have confirmed. Phalombe Police Officer- In- Charge Augustus Nkhwazi has disclosed that on September 28 2012 Nambazo Police Unit in the district intercepted 14 children aged between 10 and 18 as they were being taken to Mozambique so that they be employed in the garden fields. “Yes it is true that following a tip from the community the police have arrested four men because of child trafficking.
“And we will take the four accused persons to court with a child trafficking offense which is contrary to the child care, protection and justice act, “ disclosed the officer in charge who applauded the community for timely informing the police about the illegal deal. The four accused child traffickers are Dick Kambewa aged 37, James Martin, 31, James Banda, 23 and Daniel Thumba, 21.
According to the police, Martin comes from Zomba while his colleagues are from Phalombe whereas the 14 victimized children originate from villages in Zomba and Phalombe districts of Malawi. The accused were taking the children to Mozambique on bicycle taxis after convincing their parents that the children will fetch a lot of money abroad.
In a related development, police in the boardering districts of Dedza in the central region of Malawi and districts of Villa Ulongue and Angonia in Mozambique are banging their heads on how best to combat child trafficking, a common feature on the boarders of the two countries.
Baxter Bikosi of Dedza Community Policing Office disclosed on September 28 2012 that the police from the two bordering countries felt it wise to meet and strategize on the matter because of late there have many cases of people taking children in Dedza across the boarders which is contrary to the law. “The children are taken to Mozambique to work in gold mines and we have agreed that we work hand in hand to curb this malpractice. “We have also agreed to hold joint sensitization both in Malawi and Mozambique to alert people on the dangers of child trafficking and what they should be doing should they notice such things continue happening because we want this thing to go,” he said.
His counterpart, Antonia Fruwala from Mozambique noted that with joint efforts the two countries should be able to stop the child trafficking. The Police from the two countries are meeting at Lobi TDC in Dedza, Malawi. Child trafficking is described as the recruitment, transfer, harboring or receipt of a child for the purposes of exploitation, and the offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Last year, Chisomo Children’s Club, a Malawian child welfare organization that does research on the status of women and labor exploitation, observed that the number of women and children that are trafficked for labor within and outside Malawi is high. Ken Mkwinda, Programme Manager at the club explained that the state of women and child trafficking in Malawi is “alarming” and that there is need for much awareness about the problem.
He however noted that while the problem was very rampant in the country, fewer victims are reported than expected as the tactics used in the system are very deceitful. The organization has since been training police officers, community leaders teachers and children how they can protect themselves from labor-related trafficking.