The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Court has sentenced a 28 year-old man to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for child trafficking.
The court heard from the State Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Josophine Chigawa that the suspect White Malupi, 28, on 19th November at Ngokwe Trading Centre in the district of Machinga took two children aged 13 and 15 with intent to traffic them to Litende in Mozambique to work at the tobacco estate.
Chigawa went on to inform the court that the suspect was working in Mozambique as a tenant and was told by his boss to find him two boys to be employed as tenants again.
“He was promised to be given two bucketfuls of maize upon bringing the boys and this made him to coax the boys to join him. This materialized and the boys were taken after they were also coaxed and promised to be given K50,000 after season,” Chigawa told the court.
Upon reaching Ngokwe Trading Center, the suspect told the children that if asked of where they were going by Police, they should say that they were going to visit their grandparents in Mozambique but some people overhead him saying this and reported the matter to Police who arrested the suspect and rescued the boys.
After the reading of the offence in court, the suspect pleaded guilty to the charge of child trafficking which is contrary to section 79(1)(2) of Child Care, Protection and Justice Act.
Following his own plea of guilty and upon going through the facts presented by the state, Chief Resident Magistrate Agnes Patemba found the suspect guilty and consequently convicted him.
In her submission before sentence, state prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Josophine Chigawa who is a Regional Prosecution Inspector for Eastern Policing region asked the court to consider giving the suspect a stiffer sentence considering the seriousness of the offence and that these cases are becoming common in the district.
She said what the convict did affected the liberty of the children and this usually lead to exploitation of the children as they are employed in farms subjecting them to work beyond their age and capability.
In mitigation, the suspect asked for forgiveness saying that he is a first offender and has a family to look after.
Passing sentence, Chief Resident Magistrate Agnes Patemba concurred with the state that the suspect deserved a stiffer sentence considering the seriousness of the offence. She said the suspect being a Malawian had a responsibility to protect the children from being trafficked but instead he masterminded the trafficking.
Patemba said the convict really deserved a stiffer sentence considering that the cases are becoming common in the district and that the children who were being trafficked are school going and were to work in farms that could completely doom their future.
She therefore sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour.
White Malupi comes from M’mania village in the area of Traditional Authority Chikweo in Machinga district.