Located in the Southern Region of Malawi, Mangochi district is one of the areas where cases of human trafficking are on the rise.
The 14.427 square kilometres district, which has population of 1,075,136 with 332 police officers and 17 Police Units, has borders such as Katuli, Chiponde, Nangalamu and Makanjira.
Mangochi Police Station coordinator Inspector Roster Milanzi told Malawi24 that the district reported 1 case in 2019, four cases in 2020 and 2 in 2021 which are under prosecution.
Milanzi said that there are many challenges contributing to the cases of human trafficking in the district, one being lack of knowledge by citizens on Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
He added that some of the TIP cases that the district registers involves women and girls who are promised good jobs or scholarships in countries like South Africa but when they go to the place they are turned into sex slaves because they usually demanded to sleep with a number of men every day a situation which is worrisome.
“Another problem is inadequate training of enforcement officers. Lack of proper coordination between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and law enforcement. Another problem is that there is low involvement of citizens,” he explained.
Milanzi then suggested the need for involvement of an Inter-Agency, Anti-TIP teams and services as well as improved case management system.
As a way of curbing the malpractice, Tigwirane Manja, a 2-year project is being implemented in the country and Mangochi is one of the targeted areas.
The project is being implemented by Global Hope Mobilisation (GLOHOMO) with support from United States Agency International Development (USAID) in 9 districts of Machinga, Phalombe, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Kasungu, Dedza, Mzimba, Karonga and Mangochi.
Executive Director for GLOHOMO Caleb Thole said the project aims at to cover and dig deeper to find causes of human trafficking in the targeted areas.
Thole added that there is need for collaboration to curb human trafficking and other cases including drug trafficking and smuggling which are also on the rise.
On government’s part, Ministry of Homeland Security Senior Deputy Secretary Patricia Liabuba said the ministry has been rescuing survivors of human trafficking and putting them in shelters for counseling by therapists.
Malawian victims of sex and labor trafficking have been identified in Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Some young girls are drugged, gang-raped, and exploited in commercial according to 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report: Malawi- State Departmentwww.state.gov › 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report.