There are fears among women in Malawi as whistleblowers have revealed how thousands others are being ill-treated and forced into prostitution in countries in the Middle East where they are taken to work by government officials including ministers.
Most of the worried women include those who are jobless and opt to pick the jobs outside Malawi because employers there would allow them to get training before they work as some of the adverts claim.
Over the week, one of the country’s newspapers carried a story which made revelations of how women are being subjected to ill-treatment outside Malawi.
Recently, there have also been adverts in the media calling upon Malawian women to travel to places like Dubai, Hong Kong, and Kuwait among others where they could work as Air Hostesses, Chefs, and Receptionists, jobs which they would normally get trained on prior to being hired.
Malawi24 understands that with unemployment rates on the rise in Malawi and the cost of living surging day in day out, most people have been attracted to apply and some Malawians are working in such places, but women unlike men have been hit hard.
Investigations the paper made stated that while outside Malawi, for example in Kuwait, the ladies are told to work as sex workers in drinking joints and they go unpaid for months.
It is said that when they get to the Middle East, the traffickers confiscate their travel documents so that they do not run away before sending them off to various places where they are told what to do.
According to reports, a Burundian national working as a medical doctor at KCH and two Malawians including Flora Gondwe who works at the Ministry of Information have been behind the ring.
“Gondwe and the other Malawians who we have not been able to trace collect women’s medical reports and submit them to the DRC national commonly known as Fatiki who communicates with an agent in Kuwait who finally sends the air tickets.
“This is when Dr Eugene Kayisile, the Burundi national, conducts the examinations including HIV tests. This doctor is working at the hospital’s outpatient medical department (OPD2),’’ the report said.
But speaking to Malawi24 in a vox pop conducted on Sunday, women across the streets of Blantyre said that the move is wiping away the dignity of Malawian women.
While urging authorities to act with urgency on the matter, some of them said that it would also be important for government to create employment opportunities for people in Malawi.
A lady who wanted to be identified as Miriam told this reporter that the blame should be on government.
“Why are they silent on this? Despite those reports, our fellow Malawians are suffering in South Africa and other countries, because at least there they are making ends meet, unlike here where even cheap labour jobs are scarce.
“On the part of training, our technical institutions lack equipment and that on itself is a problem. Someone goes to do mechanics but finishes without hands on experience. Do you expect that person to get a job out there?’’ She wondered.
Miriam blamed politicians for not helping Malawians, for not taking the welfare of Malawians a heart and for being greedy.
The other women interviewed also said that this could be a learning platform for other people, not only women, who could be enticed to work outside Malawi under similar agents.
Much as the issue of labour export started way back in the 1990s when Malawians flocked to countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe where they worked in the mines, the situation has not lately changed.
Most of the youthful population in Malawi is trekking to South Africa where they attain cheap labour jobs and earn a living.
This has largely been blamed on unemployment.
According to Trading Economics Website, Unemployment Rate in Malawi increased to 6.60 percent in 2013 from 3 percent in 2011. Unemployment Rate in Malawi averaged 4.90 percent from 2005 until 2013, reaching an all time high of 7 percent in 2005 and a record low of 3 percent in 2007.
Last year thousands of Malawians were repatriated into the country after a series of attacks on foreigners in South Africa.
At the moment, the Malawi government says it is working towards addressing the concerns about human trafficking and labour exports.