Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda says African countries should form networks to address cases of trafficking in persons.
He made the remarks on Tuesday during a virtual meeting organized by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the Nigerian government.
Banda said given that human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and related crime operate across boundaries of all kinds, an effective response requires that geographical, political, ideological and linguistic barriers be overcome to support the common goal of combating both issues.
Banda also talked about the need for interpreters during investigation and prosecution of cases.
“It is therefore very important that we continue creating space for discussions and strengthening our systems for management of both trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, we must regard the two issues as a grave international penal crime that deserves harsh punishment in all countries without exceptions,” he said.
He added that it is also crucial that laws on trafficking in persons must be standardized across countries and enforced consistently with international and regional conventions.
He then said that victims should not be criminalized for the activities they are involved in as a direct consequence of their situation as trafficked persons.
The Minister described the meeting as a very important discussion for Malawi as it is a country that is at the crossroads of significant movements of populations fleeing conflict, persecution, and instability in Central and the Horn of Africa.
“Malawi just as other countries continues to grapple with high breadth and depth of both internal and external forms of trafficking in persons either as a primary supplier to other countries or transit country.
“Investigation in technology such as financial records and SIM cards, and confusion between trafficking and smuggling cases offences cause a very big challenge on the part of both the investigators and Prosecutors,” he explained.