Poverty has been stated as the main driver for human trafficking in Malawi because many recruiters make false promises of well-paid jobs abroad, which lure vulnerable individuals into risky migration journeys.
In the report called Malawi’s Human-Trafficking Routes: Mapping Gross-border Transit Points Using Collective Data done by Malawi Network Against Trafficking (MNAT) and launched virtually on Thursday at crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe, shows recruiters present themselves as agents, religious leaders of businessmen when visiting remote villages, and they promise work, school or marriage outside the country.
In the report, MNAT estimates that about 95 percent of Malawians seeking a better life elsewhere are trafficked without their knowledge which shows that there is still widespread lack of awareness and understanding of the risk of exploitation and of workers’ rights.
“Child trafficking cases are common from August to November every year, which is crop-growing season for both Malawi and neighboring Mozambique.
“Most of the children are taken from their homes by traffickers who promise their families that the child will return with an undisclosed amount of money and the items important for subsistence such as Bicycles,” the report says.
On the routes, the report says the borders among Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania are open and porous making it difficult for authorities to detect, identify and report incidents of TIP and anti-trafficking groups and many migrants use uncharted routes which avoid official border points.
It also indicates that trafficking and smuggling activity take place using both official border posts as well as remote trails and unmonitored border locations such as Namizana Border Post, Mwami/Mchinji Border Post among others.
The report has showed that ever since Covid-19 affected the whole world only trucks have been allowed to cross borders in many places a situation that worries MNAT considering that there is an increase of human trafficking taking place silently.
In her remarks, MNAT Advocacy Chairperson Mandinda Zungu said anyone can be a victim of human trafficking and the report will assist on how people can be aware of human traffickers.