|04LILONGWE199||2004-03-10 15:34:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Lilongwe|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. SUMMARY. Based on a review of GOM practices,
interviews with civil society groups, GOM officials, and
press accounts, Malawi should not be designated as a
country of origin, transit, or destination of the most
severe forms of international trafficking in significant
numbers of men, women, or children for 2003-2004. Post
responses are keyed to cable checklist (reftel). END
2. Post Contact Information
Post point of contact for TIP issues is Consular-Political
officer Kiera Emmons, office phone 265-1-773-166 ext 3411,
fax 265-1-774-976. Estimated time spent per officer in
preparation of this report are as follows: Con-Pol Officer
- 8.0; RSO - 0.5 review, DCM - 2.0 review, Ambassador - 1.0
A. Malawi is a country of origin and a destination country
for international trafficking in women and children, but
there is insufficient data to qualify it as a country with
a significant number of victims of severe forms of
trafficking as defined by legislation. Various sources
agree that some trafficking likely occurs within the
country's borders, primarily from the northern region to
various locations along the lakeshore for purposes of sex-
tourism. No reliable estimates exist regarding the extent
of the problem. Sources of information include one non-
governmental organization; the Malawi Human Rights
Commission; the Ministry of Gender, Youth, and Community
Services; and a 2003 International Organization for
Migration (IOM) report. None are completely reliable and
Malawi-based research on the topic is scant. Certain groups
have been identified as more at-risk, primarily young women
and girls, and secondarily adolescent boys.
B. There are some reports of persons trafficked from
Zambia to Malawi. Persons are reportedly trafficked from
Malawi to South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, and Europe
(specifically the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands). The
GOM believes that most persons are trafficked to South
Africa, though in previous years there have been a few
known cases of trafficking to Europe.
C. No known changes in direction of trafficking. Reports
indicate an increase in extent of trafficking, however this
may be attributed to an increase in reporting on the
D. No efforts are currently underway to examine the
problem in Malawi. In FY03 the one NGO dealing with TIP in
Malawi applied for but was not granted USG funding to study
and address the issue. The 2003 IOM report, released in
April 2003, was not available for use in last year's
E. Malawi has not been a destination for trafficking, but
recent anecdotal evidence suggests that women trafficked
from Zambia are working in brothels on the outskirts of
Lilongwe and Blantyre. It is unclear what methods are used
to ensure compliance, however the depressed economy and
lack of opportunities for women and girls imply that
compliance would be accomplished by remuneration.
F. Primary trafficking targets are young women and girls.
On occasion boys have reportedly been trafficked within the
country. The traffickers have been reported as local or
neighboring-nation businesswomen, working in collaboration
with men. Truck drivers have also been implicated in
trafficking of women and girls to South Africa. Some
sources indicate an international trafficking syndicate may
be operating in Malawi . Young women and girls have
reportedly been approached in public places, near schools,
and at bus stops by women and men offering them jobs in
fashion, food service, and domestic fields abroad. Various
sources report that in the North, along the Tanzanian
border, young girls are sold or traded to tribal chiefs and
transported to other villages.
G. There is political will to combat the problem of TIP,
though it is by no means the most pressing item on the GOM
agenda. The GOM does not have funding or resources to
seriously address the issue. Legislation to criminalize TIP
was introduced to Parliament in 2003 but not passed.
Periodically, government officials will publicly denounce
trafficking. Since 2001, seven cases involving trafficking
have been prosecuted in Malawi, though trafficking is not
in itself a crime. Malawi is able to devote little of its
scarce resources to trafficking, though efforts are
underway to improve border security and professionalism of
immigration officials. (NOTE: Post is hopeful that
legislation to criminalize trafficking will receive
attention from Parliament in 2004, and will advocate for
passage of such legislation with the new government
following 2004 elections. END NOTE)
H. No government officials are known/suspected to be
directly involved in TIP, but one Malawi government
official commented that immigration officers likely don't
recognize trafficking for what it is, and noted that
traffickers may be able to take advantage of this lack of
awareness and bribe border officials to allow young girls
to transit undocumented. While not complicit, leaders have
been unable to devote sufficient attention to the matter.
It is possible that international transport of victims
occurs through the acquisition of illegitimate - but
usually genuine - passports or use of one passport by
multiple victims. Extremely porous borders also contribute
to the problem. To date, no government officials have been
prosecuted for involvement in trafficking, but the GOM is
making attempts to tighten border controls and prevent
I. Funding and training for police and immigration forces
is insufficient, and law enforcement officials are often
accused of corruption. The government generally lacks
resources to assist trafficking victims, but the Malawi
Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Gender and
Community Services have, in the past, been able to provide
nominal assistance in the repatriation of trafficking
J. The government is severely limited in its ability to
systematically implement and monitor anti-trafficking
K. It is against the law to receive money gained through
prostitution of others. Thus, ownership of a brothel, for
example, is illegal, while the act of prostitution is not.
Prostitution is common, and law enforcement is limited in
its capacity and willingness to block prostitution.
L. The practice of buying and selling child-brides occurs
in Malawi, but is not common. Some tribes, particularly in
the North of Malawi along the border with Tanzania, engage
in activities where young girls are traded for land,
livestock, and other commodities when money is not
available. Malawian men are not known to travel
internationally in order to purchase child-brides.
A. The Government of Malawi has acknowledged that
trafficking exists, and largely blames foreigners. Without
specific data and adequate resources, the GOM has been
largely unable to address the problem.
B. Cases relevant to trafficking have previously been
handled by the Ministry of Gender and Community Services
(MOGCS). The Malawi Human Rights Commission has also
informally looked into the problem, though limited
resources have prevented a full-scale study or
investigation. The Ministry of Gender and Community
Services has the lead in coordinating GOM anti-trafficking
efforts. The MOGCS has formed a committee that includes
representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the
Department of Immigration, Department of Customs, and the
Police. The committee does not meet regularly.
C. The government does not have a national plan to address
D. The government has been involved in programs promoting
the rights of women and children which may indirectly
prevent trafficking. Workshops, training sessions, and
public awareness campaigns have been held.
E. The government is unable to support sustained
prevention programs due to lack of resources.
F. One local NGO deals with trafficking issues and has
engaged with government officials in the past. The Malawi
Human Rights Commission has pressed for resources
specifically to deal with this issue but none have been
made available from the GOM.
G. Although checkpoints exist along all major exit routes,
Malawi's borders are very porous and allow for easy illegal
crossing. The Department of Immigration attempts to
monitor for trafficking, but has insufficient resources to
accomplish this mission.
H. As reported in para. 4 B, the MOGCS convenes a
committee to examine specific cases when they arise, but
does not meet on a regular basis to coordinate a counter-
trafficking strategy. The Anti-Corruption Bureau, the
Office of the Ombudsman, and the Auditor General handle
issues of public corruption.
I. The GOM has the will to participate in multilateral
trafficking initiatives, but lacks the resources.
J. The GOM does not have a national plan of action to
address trafficking in persons.
K. Dr. Mary Shawa, Deputy Director of the MOGCS, is the
main point of contact for trafficking-related issues.
5. INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
A. There is no law specifically criminalizing trafficking
into, out of, or within Malawi. Previous legislation
mandating a 14-year minimum sentence for anyone convicted
of "promoting, managing, or transporting any person into or
out of Malawi with the purpose to engage that other person
in prostitution" was withdrawn from the National Assembly
for further review and has not been reintroduced.
Traffickers can be prosecuted under Article 140(c) and
140(d) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes the transport
of a woman from Malawi for prostitution. Article 141
penalizes anyone who, by threats or intimidation, false
pretenses, or false representation or by administering
drugs, procures any woman or girl to have unlawful carnal
relations in the country or elsewhere. Articles 36 and 37
of the Penal Code criminalize misuse or forgery of travel
documents. The constitution states "no person shall be
held in slavery or servitude".
B. There is no penalty at this time, as specific anti-
trafficking legislation has not been passed.
C. The minimum penalty for rape is six years, but the High
Court can sentence a person to life imprisonment or death
depending on the circumstances of the assault. (NOTE:
Although the death penalty is permitted under Malawian law,
President Bakili Muluzi has publicly stated that no
prisoners will be executed while he is in office. End
D. Because specific legislation is still pending, no cases
have been prosecuted to date. Seven cases relevant to
trafficking have been prosecuted in Malawi since 2001.
E. Unsubstantiated anecdotal information alleges that
Malawian businesswomen, truck drivers, and possibly
Nigerian trafficking syndicates are behind trafficking in
and out of Malawi. There is little credible information
regarding trafficking in persons in general, and none
specific to the perpetrators.
F. No, the government of Malawi has not actively
investigated cases of trafficking.
H. There have been no instances this year of GOM
participation in international investigations or
prosecutions of trafficking cases.
I. There are no reports of extraditions associated with
trafficking. (NOTE: Forced extradition of Malawian citizens
is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution, but has
not been used. End Note.)
K. No information available.
L. ILO Conventions 182, 29, and 105 ratified by the GOM on
November 19, 1999. Optional Protocol to the Convention on
the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child
prostitution, and child pornography signed by the GOM on
September 7, 2000, but not ratified. Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons not signed or
ratified by the GOM.
6. PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS
A. Very limited assistance to victims is available from
the GOM, local government institutions, or civil society
C. No information available.
D. Family based or NGO-assisted care is the only option
for victims in Malawi. Victims with difficult or abusive
family circumstances have been placed in detention centers
when no other option was available.
E. The GOM has not enacted legislation that would make
legal recourse for trafficking victims possible. The GOM
would encourage victims to participate in an investigation.
There is no victim's restitution program.
G. No. During the year Malawian police collaborated with
Interpol and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs
Organization (SARPCO) to develop the ability to identify
and investigate potential traffickers. Malawian embassies
abroad are not known to have any specialized training for
dealing with trafficking victims.
H. None known during the reporting year.
I. Eye of the Child and the Malawi Human Rights Youth
Network have expressed interest in investigating the issue
as well as providing assistance to victims, but they have
very limited resources available. During the reporting
year, post submitted a funding proposal to G/TIP for an Eye
of the Child project. This proposal was not funded (see
para. 3 D).