Immigration releases four human traffickers without charge

Malawi Immigration offices in Lilngwe

Department of Immigration and Citizenship has been accused of releasing without charge four people who were arrested on 16th June at Mchinji border for attempting to traffic 16 ladies from Zambia to South Africa.

According to inside sources at Immigration Department in Lilongwe, the four individuals involved in human trafficking were identified by the victims in Mchinji and were arrested by Chipata Immigration officers on the Zambia side.

They said the victims were the first ones to be arrested before they crossed Mchinji border on suspicion that they were illegal immigrants.

“Upon questioning them, they revealed that people behind their journey to South Africa were in Royal Bus Service which by then was approaching Chipata,” said one of the sources.

Malawi Immigration officials called their counterparts in Zambia to detain the bus which resulted in the arrest of the suspects.

Both victims and suspects were taken to Maula Prison where they were kept waiting to be taken to court.

Surprisingly, on Wednesday, this publication received information that Department of Immigration released both the victims and the suspects without appearing before the court of law.

Efforts to talk to Department of Immigration Public Relations Officer for Central Region Patrick Msume was made but his phone was out of reach.

One of the victims confirmed that they were released by Immigration officials in Lilongwe and were not told when to appear before the court.

She said they (victims) paid K400, 000 to the traffickers for logistical arrangements to South Africa where they were going for pre-arranged marriages.

“They promised us that we were going to be married by rich people and assured us that our lives will improve, “lamented one of them.

It was also discovered that all the 16 victims were traveling without any documents.

Other sources within Immigration office told us that by releasing them in that way, it marks the end of the cases the traffickers were supposed to answer.

Cases of human trafficking in Malawi are on increase and more effort is needed to deal with all individuals involved with the activity.

Some people suspect that government officials are involved in human trafficking hence releasing those involved without trial.

In May this year, three Chinese nationals were also arrested at Kamuzu International Airport when they were attempting to traffic two girls to China on pre-arranged marriages.

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