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Identifier
Created
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05LILONGWE187
2005-03-02 07:33:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

2005 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT - MALAWI

Tags:   KCRM  PHUM  KWMN  ELAB  SMIG  ASEC  KFRD  PREF  MI 
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020733Z Mar 05
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 LILONGWE 000187 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/S, AF/RSA, G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF MI
SUBJECT: 2005 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT - MALAWI

REF: A. 04 STATE 273089


B. 04 LILONGWE 1043

C. 04 LILONGWE 1022

D. 04 LILONGWE 723

E. 04 LILONGWE 868

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 LILONGWE 000187

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/S, AF/RSA, G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF MI
SUBJECT: 2005 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT - MALAWI

REF: A. 04 STATE 273089


B. 04 LILONGWE 1043

C. 04 LILONGWE 1022

D. 04 LILONGWE 723

E. 04 LILONGWE 868


1. SUMMARY. Human trafficking was a new issue for the GOM
in 2004. With the advent of increased awareness and a new
government with a new approach to governance, the GOM has
made significant efforts to understand and address TIP. The
GOM has implemented a multi-year strategy to protect
vulnerable children from exploitation, and is in the process
of developing a nationwide, inter-ministerial plan to
identify the nature of the problem in Malawi and possible
solutions. In 2004 and 2005, the GOM provided services,
including counseling and reintegration assistance, for TIP
victims. During the reporting year the GOM acceded to the
Optional Protocols to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish
Trafficking in Persons, and legislation to specifically
criminalize TIP is scheduled for the March 2005
Parliamentary session. END SUMMARY. Post presents the
following information in response to reftel A request.
Answers are keyed to reftel paragraphs as listed below.


2. Paragraph 18:


A. Malawi is a country of origin and transit for
internationally trafficked men, women, and children.
Numbers for each group are unknown, however the problem is
not estimated to be widespread. Some incidences of
trafficking have occurred within the country's borders.
There is little data to quantify the magnitude of the
trafficking problem in Malawi. Sources of available
information include various ministries, government
officials, NGOs, and church groups. Much of the information
is anecdotal but is generally considered reliable. Women
and children are the most vulnerable group for trafficking
exploitation.


B. There is no evidence that Malawi is a destination
country for victims of trafficking. Anecdotal evidence
indicates there may be some prostitutes from Zambia and
Tanzania working in border areas, however these cannot be

confirmed as victims of trafficking. Persons have
reportedly been trafficked internally for labor and to South
Africa.


C. There have been no known changes in the direction or
extent of trafficking.


D. The Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community
Services, in cooperation with the Ministry of Home Affairs
and the Malawi Human Rights Commission, has developed plans
for a comprehensive study of the nature of human trafficking
in Malawi. Limited resources may impede this project, and
various donors have been approached for funding. The
Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training is currently
seeking to develop a nationwide analysis of migration
patterns in cooperation with the National Statistics Office.
No new statistical data has been made available since last
year on a nationwide basis, however a few issue-based
surveys (labor exploitation, for example) and region-
specific studies have revealed new information about the
nature of human trafficking in Malawi.


E. Malawi is not known to be a destination point for
trafficking victims. (See paragraph 2B.)


F. Impoverished rural populations are the primary targets
for traffickers, and this includes children, women, and some
men. Each particular type of trafficking involves a
different demographic, however poverty and lack of education
seem to be common factors among them all. Victims are
thought to be offered lucrative jobs either in other regions
of Malawi or in South Africa. New underage recruits into
prostitution are thought to be lured by other prostitutes,
though not necessarily deliberately. Victims are generally
moved using legitimate travel documents when necessary.


G. There is political will at all levels of government,
including the highest, to combat all forms of human
trafficking. With regard to its very limited resources, the
GOM is making a good-faith effort to address trafficking.
It is important to note that in 2004 TIP was a new concept
to Malawian authorities. When presented with the 2004 TIP
Report and Tier-Two Watch List status, the President of
Malawi immediately called an inter-ministerial meeting to
discuss the problem. Resultant actions are cited in detail
below and in reftels B-E. In broad terms, the GOM has
devoted considerable human and financial resources to
combating TIP, specifically in the area of prevention.


H. GOM officials do not knowingly condone or facilitate any
form of trafficking.


I. The practical limitations on the GOM's ability to
address TIP are many. Malawi is one of the world's poorest
countries and suffers severely from the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Thirty years of dictatorship gave way in 1994 to ten years
of abject corruption, and the country is only now emerging
as a possible political bright spot in a region plagued by
wars, disease, and poverty. Funding for nearly all public
institutions - police, hospitals, basic infrastructure - is
inadequate. New corruption controls and political
motivation have realigned GOM priorities, however, and
reformist leadership is encouraging increased accountability
in governance. The government's resources to aid victims
are extremely limited, though some assistance is provided
through various social programs.


J. Systematic monitoring of human trafficking is still in
the initial phases of development. 2004 was a watershed
year for the GOM in many regards, including awareness of
human trafficking. The GOM was largely caught unaware when
the issue of TIP was presented to them in the context of
Tier-Two Watch List, and in the midst of a near-total
political transition, has made significant efforts to
organize its counter-TIP efforts and information. There are
two committees which primarily monitor human trafficking in
Malawi: the National Steering Committee on Orphans and
Vulnerable Children and the National Steering Committee on
Child Labor. Because these committees are of overlapping
composition and issues, trafficking information is included
in both. The GOM is currently working on a plan to better
collect and disseminate such information among relevant
ministries/agencies.


K. Certain elements of prostitution are illegal, however
the penal code does not specifically prohibit the
prostitution of oneself. Suspected prostitutes are
sometimes cited for loitering or disorderly behavior.
Several sections of the penal code specifically criminalize
the activities of brothel owners/operators, clients, pimps,
madams, and prostitute recruiters. See paragraph 4A.


3. Paragraph 19:


A. The GOM acknowledges that TIP is a problem in the
country, though not in the magnitude the 2004 TIP Report
would indicate (reftels D and E).


B. A wide variety of GOM agencies are involved in anti-
trafficking efforts. The Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare
and Community Services, the Ministry of Home Affairs and
Internal Security (which includes police and immigration
services) and the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training,
along with the Malawi Law Commission, The Malawi Human
Rights Commission, and the Director of Public Prosecution
have been the most significant.


C. During the reporting period, the Ministry of Gender
launched a long-term national action plan for the protection
of orphans and vulnerable children, which includes elements
of anti-trafficking awareness and prevention. The Ministry
of Labor has increased its efforts to prevent child labor,
and both of these have been well publicized. During the
reporting period, the GOM conducted awareness campaigns to
address a variety of TIP's root causes, including child
abuse, orphan care and life-skills, child labor, female
literacy and education, and gender-based violence and
equity. Campaigns to specifically address human trafficking
and targeted at potential victims were conducted by the
Malawi Human Rights Commission.


D. The GOM routinely conducts programs which reduce
vulnerabilities for TIP. See paragraph 3C.


E. To some extent, the GOM is able to support prevention
programs, but the provision of support is limited by
resources and capacity to do so.


F. The relationship between the GOM and NGOs, donors, and
civil society in the context of human trafficking is strong.
Due to very limited resources, the GOM must often rely on
partnerships with such groups in order to implement
initiatives. The GOM does not place unreasonable
bureaucratic requirements on groups wishing to implement
assistance and development programs. GOM officials are
routinely made available to help publicize and oversee civil
society initiatives.


G. The GOM makes a considerable effort to monitor its
borders, though these efforts are limited by resources and
capacity. All immigration officers receive comprehensive
basic training which includes identification of trafficking
situations. However, as TIP is a relatively new concept,
this training is essentially limited to trafficking in the
most obvious sense and does not yet cover all of its
possible manifestations. In the event of a TIP case,
officers are able to contact other ministries/agencies for
guidance.

H. There is an inter-ministerial committee which meets
regularly to discuss issues of trafficking. The GOM is
currently involved in a large-scale anti-corruption
movement, which encompasses all levels of government and
civil service. Corruption matters are handled by the Anti-
Corruption Bureau (ACB).


I. In September 2004 the GOM hosted the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) forum on human trafficking
in the Southern-African region. Part of the IOM's Migration
Dialogue for Southern Africa, this three-day workshop
facilitated a comprehensive discussion of regional
trafficking and the need for increased cooperation. The GOM
has formally invited the IOM to open an office in Malawi,
and several senior GOM officials attended the workshop,
including the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal
Security.


J. The GOM is working on development of a national plan of
action to specifically address trafficking. The development
of this plan is complicated by the lack of data on all forms
of human trafficking, and the GOM's initial steps in this
process include a large-scale study on the problem. As
noted in paragraph 2J, TIP is a relatively new concept in
Malawi, and though the GOM has long been working to address
some of the aspects of TIP (specifically child labor and
underage prostitution) it is only now beginning to fully
understand the global and local significance of the problem.
As described in paragraph 3C, the GOM has developed and
implemented a plan to address the root causes of
trafficking, which in practice is a preventative measure.


K. The Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry
of Home Affairs are the foremost authorities on human
trafficking in Malawi. In partnership with the Malawi Human
Rights Commission, a constitutionally-mandated human rights
watchdog, and other governmental and non-governmental
organizations, these ministries have primary responsibility
for anti-TIP programs.


4. Paragraph 20:


A. The constitution prohibits slavery and servitude, and
forbids any form of forced, tied, or bonded labor.
According to the Malawi Law Commission, in spite of the fact
that the Constitution cannot directly be used to prosecute
offenders, reference to the constitution has in the past
been essential in prosecuting certain cases related to
trafficking. The penal code contains specific offenses
which may be used to prosecute traffickers: Article 135
prohibits abduction, Article 140 prohibits the "procuration
(or attempts to procure) any woman or girl to become, either
in Malawi or elsewhere, a common prostitute or to leave
Malawi with the intent that she may become an inmate of or
frequent a brothel.in Malawi or elsewhere." Article 141
prohibits the procurement and defilement of a woman or girl
by threats, fraud, or administering of drugs. Article 143
criminalizes any person who detains any woman or girl
against her will "that she may be unlawfully and carnally
known by any man." Living off of the proceeds of
prostitution and operating a brothel are illegal according
to Articles 145-147. These laws are considered adequate for
the prosecution of TIP, however, during the reporting
period, the GOM took action to reintroduce a previous
amendment which would strengthen and support the above
articles in trafficking cases. The amendment is scheduled
to be presented to parliament at its next sitting, in March
of 2005. In addition, the Malawi Law Commission is
currently developing a new law (rather than the
aforementioned amendment to the existing statute) to
specifically criminalize trafficking of all types.


B. Penalties for trafficking for sexual exploitation as
delineated under the existing penal code vary according to
the different articles, but are largely unspecified.
Penalties for child labor violations vary according to the
specific charges.


C. Penalties for rape include life imprisonment and
possible death. (Note: No death sentences have been carried
out in Malawi's democratic history.) Rape is a felony,
while the charges listed in paragraph 4A (except abduction)
are misdemeanors.


D. The government has prosecuted cases of human
trafficking, though in the context of labor violations. In
November 2004, the Ministry of Labor shifted its focus from
labor education to labor enforcement, and regional labor
inspectors gained the authority to initiate and conduct
investigations and to press charges. Since that time, two
cases of child labor exploitation have been successfully
prosecuted in the central region, and a third case was
dismissed due to a technicality. Since the new initiative
began, the Ministry of Labor has in the central region
removed and provided assistance for 13 children in
exploitive situations. Data for the southern and northern
regions is unavailable, however the Ministry is currently
working on a comprehensive report which will include all
regions of the country. No cases of trans-national or
domestic TIP for purposes of prostitution or forced sexual
servitude were brought to the GOM's attention during the
reporting year.


E. There is little clear information on who is behind human
trafficking in Malawi. GOM officials and NGO workers
speculate that internal trafficking is committed by
transporters and opportunistic "businessmen" seeking to find
cheap labor for farms. The few anecdotal reports of
international trafficking blame local and international
businesswomen and businessmen, possibly with connections to
trafficking rings in South Africa and other African
countries.


F. The GOM actively investigates cases of trafficking when
appropriate. Resources and capacity to conduct covert and
high-tech operations are extremely limited, though would be
legal.


G. The GOM provides basic counter-TIP training to all
immigration officers and police. However, the GOM is
currently seeking additional training for law enforcement
officers to be able to recognize the more insidious
manifestations of human trafficking. Outside resources for
this training will initially be necessary, however according
to the Ministry of Home Affairs, will be incorporated into
routine training for all officers. Labor inspectors
conduct routine inspections and compliance certifications of
tea and tobacco estates, the most common violators of child
labor laws, and are trained to identify and investigate
possible cases of child labor. Foreign adoption cases are
carefully scrutinized and the prospective parents must meet
a series of requirements before provisional custody can be
granted.


H. The GOM, through the Ministry of Home Affairs and
Internal Security, is a member of INTERPOL and SADC's
Defense and Security Organ which deals with trafficking. No
information is available about the exact number of
cooperative international investigations.


I. GOM officials indicate that persons charged with
trafficking in other countries would be extradited in cases
where such action would be appropriate. The GOM has not
been presented with these circumstances during the reporting
year.


J. There is no evidence of government involvement or
tolerance of trafficking at any level.


K. Not applicable.


L. Anecdotal reports indicate there may be some sex tourism
occurring in Malawi, primarily along the lakeshore, though
do not indicate the presence of an actual "industry".
Unconfirmed reports indicate that teenage boys have, in the
past, provided sexual services for visiting European
tourists. During the reporting year, the GOM was not
presented with the opportunity to prosecute any cases
related to these possible activities, though officials
consistently prosecute pedophiles under a variety of laws.
Since homosexuality is illegal and remains generally
socially unacceptable in Malawi, prosecutions for this type
of prostitution and solicitation could include charges of
homosexual acts.


M. The GOM acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress,
and Punish Trafficking in Persons in February 2005. ILO
Conventions 182, 29, and 105 were ratified by the GOM on
November 19, 1999. The Optional Protocol to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child was signed by the GOM on
September 7, 2000.


5. Paragraph 21:


A. The government provides some assistance, commensurate
with its limited resources and capacity, to victims of
trafficking. In partnership with NGOs, the government
provided counseling, rehabilitation and reintegration
services for abused and exploited children, including those
involved in prostitution. Community-based services are
provided using volunteers organized by the Ministry of
Gender. The GOM operates one juvenile offender
rehabilitation center and one center for abused and
exploited children, and has begun the process of expanding
to a second facility in another region of the country.
Both of the current facilities offer counseling and
rehabilitation services.


B. The GOM's resources to provide funding for NGOs are
extremely limited; rather it is NGOs that assist the
government in the provision of such services. However, in
at least one case the GOM has provided buildings or other
necessities for NGO use in anti-TIP activities.


C. GOM officials have a solid network of NGOs to turn to
for assistance with victims' services. Police are trained
to handle sexual assault and child abuse cases with
compassion and procedures are in place to prevent further
exploitation of victims. Police stations nationwide are
equipped with victims' support units, though in practice
these services are limited by lack of resources.


D. The rights of victims are generally respected. There
are no reports of victims treated as criminals.


E. The GOM uses evidence gained from victims to investigate
and prosecute TIP-related cases. Victims are permitted to
file civil suits against perpetrators, and civil society has
in the past been quick to offer pro-bono legal services to
victims involved in civil and criminal cases. Labor
Inspectors and Child Protection Officers are trained to
advocate for fair remuneration to employees, especially
children, in labor disputes and court cases.


F. Police protection is afforded to witnesses in any court
case, as appropriate. The GOM provides some funding,
commensurate with its resources and capacity to do so, for
shelters for abused and exploited women and children. See
paragraph 5A.


G. The GOM has to date trained nearly 200 Child Protection
Officers and placed them in each district of the country.
These officers are specially trained to recognize child
victims of all forms of exploitation, including trafficking.
Repatriation to a victim's home district in cases of
domestic labor trafficking is usually accomplished through
interministerial cooperation and includes some element of
community-based assistance in reintegration. Malawian
Embassies abroad actively encourage Malawian expatriates to
register with the consular section.


H. Repatriated victims of trans-national trafficking
generally arrive from South Africa and the GOM provides some
assistance, commensurate with resources, to victims. Large
numbers of illegal Malawian migrants are deported from South
Africa each month at GOM expense, and it is thought that
some trafficking victims could be among them.


I. Some of the international organizations and NGOs working
with trafficking victims include UNICEF, NORAD, local and
international NGOs, church groups, and informal community-
based volunteer groups. The GOM and such groups enjoy a
mutually beneficial relationship, which enhances the
benefits to victims.


6. TIP Hero
Post nominates the Minister of Gender, Child Welfare, and
Community Services Joyce Banda as a hero in the fight
against TIP. Banda has devoted her life to the promotion of
the economic and social status of women and girls, and is an
influential advocate for improving the quality of life in
Malawi by empowering thousands of women to become
economically self-reliant. Frustrated by red tape she
encountered as a secretary, Banda founded the National
Association of Business Women (NABW) in order to boost the
status of all women by giving them access to credit,
training, information, markets and appropriate technology.
So far, NABW has mobilized more than 15,000 women
countrywide, disbursed US$2,000,000 in loans, and trained
12,000 women to run their own businesses. In 1997 Banda
established the Joyce Banda Foundation for Better Girls'
Education, which aims to keep young girls, especially
orphans, in school. To date, Banda's foundation, which she
personally provides funding for, has financed the education
of thousands of children, decreasing their vulnerability for
exploitation and poverty. Complete information is available
at www.jbf.clcom.net. Banda has consistently worked to raise
awareness of human trafficking within the GOM and has
quickly and efficiently responded to the problem - and its
root causes - with strong leadership and advocacy. Her
influence and attention to TIP generated a significant
cultural shift within the Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare
and Community Service, which previously resisted any
possibility of TIP in Malawi, and has resulted in the
recognized need for new prevention and protection programs
throughout the nation.


7. TIP Best Practices
People Serving Girls at Risk (PSGR), a local NGO, has
implemented a short-term project with post funding to assist
underage prostitutes in getting off the streets. Thus far,
the project has implemented an anti-TIP public awareness
campaign in some of the poorest urban areas in the country.
With well-designed posters, brochures, and other materials,
the group has been able to raise awareness among the most
vulnerable populations. PSGR has well-established links
with the GOM and has taken an innovative approach to
assisting young prostitutes through social reintegration and
education of the support network these young people must
rely upon.


8. Post POC for TIP issues is Consular/Political Officer
Kiera L. Emmons, phone 265-1-773-166 ext 3411 IVG 835-3411,
Fax 265-1-794-976. Time spent on TIP Report: Principal
drafting, Con/Pol Officer: 25.0 hours; Research assistance,
Intern: 12.0 hours; Clearance, RSO, 1.0 hour; USAID, 1.0
hour; ECON, 1.0 hour; CDA, 1.0 hour.
GILMOUR