BLANTYRE--Some media practitioners in Malawi have expressed dismay with the ministries of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and Home Affairs and Internal Security for delays in taking the Trafficking in Persons bill to parliament for deliberations and pass it into law.
Cabinet approved it last year and Journalists against Child Trafficking (JACT), who writes about issues concerning human trafficking, have issued a statement querying the ministries in question.
“JACT has noted with sadness that the ministry of Justice and Constitutionals Affairs in the previous sittings brought to parliament so many bills that were discussed and passed without delays.
“Some were like the police bill, amendment of section 65 to ban media and injunction bills which raised a lot questions yet the ministry failed to see the need to have legislation on human trafficking which would promote to protect lives of people,” reads the statement made available to Marapost Tuesday.
The statement co-signed by Chairperson Blessings Jumbe and Secretary Christopher Sande says they expect the ministries to view human trafficking with a human face considering that it affects and puts the lives of rural children and women at risk.
JACT further observes that the lack of the legislation on human trafficking has created more challenges, noting that Malawi has become a fertile land for trafficking since there are no specific laws to deal with offenders.
“Almost 500 to 1500 children and women are trafficked within and outside Malawi every year.
Courts especially magistrates have had problems to convict the culprits. Children are taken to work in estates while girls are working in bottle stores as sex workers,” reads further the statement.
The media practitioners observe that the courts of law give the culprits “soft punishments” du to unavailability of the Act on child trafficking.
“We therefore believe as Members of Parliament intend to meet mid this month, the Peoples Party government which is led by Her Excellency Madam Joyce Banda through Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara will see the need to take the bill to parliament for discussions and passing it into law,” says JACT in the statement.
Most cases of child trafficking are reported in districts of Kasungu, Mchinji, Thyolo, Dedza, Mulanje, Nkhata-bay and Mzimba, among others.