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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LILONGWE888
2005-10-11 11:50:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

MALAWI SENTENCES CHILD TRAFFICKERS TO SEVEN

Tags:   PHUM  ELAB  PGOV  PREL  ZA  MI 
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						UNCLAS LILONGWE 000888 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR G/TIP - RACHEL YOUSEY
DEPT ALSO FOR AF/RSA AND DRL/IL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV PREL ZA MI
SUBJECT: MALAWI SENTENCES CHILD TRAFFICKERS TO SEVEN
YEARS HARD LABOR

REF: LILONGWE 729

UNCLAS LILONGWE 000888

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR G/TIP - RACHEL YOUSEY
DEPT ALSO FOR AF/RSA AND DRL/IL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV PREL ZA MI
SUBJECT: MALAWI SENTENCES CHILD TRAFFICKERS TO SEVEN
YEARS HARD LABOR

REF: LILONGWE 729


1. (U) SUMMARY. ON SEPTEMBER 24, A MALAWIAN COURT
SENTENCED THREE MEN TO SEVEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT WITH HARD
LABOR FOR KIDNAPPING. ALTHOUGH MALAWI HAS YET TO ADOPT
SPECIFIC TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION, THERE IS GROWING
AWARENESS OF THE ISSUE AMONG THE COUNTRY'S LEADERS AND
CIVIL SOCIETY. THE SENTENCING IN THIS CASE MAY INDICATE
A NEW WILLINGNESS BY MALAWIAN COURTS TO METE OUT STIFFER
TRAFFICKING PENALTIES. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) BONIFACE MANDERE, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS NGO EYE OF THE CHILD, CONFIRMED TO
POLOFF DURING AN OCTOBER 6 MEETING THAT A MALAWIAN COURT
HAD SENTENCED TWO MALAWIANS AND A ZAMBIAN TO SEVEN YEARS
IMPRISONMENT WITH HARD LABOR FOR KIDNAPPING. THE THREE
MEN WERE ARRESTED WHILE ATTEMPTING TO SMUGGLE FIVE YOUNG
BOYS ACROSS THE BORDER INTO ZAMBIA, APPARENTLY TO WORK ON
TOBACCO ESTATES. LOCAL RESIDENTS, WHO WERE CONCERNED
ABOUT THE BOYS' WELFARE, BROUGHT THE CASE TO THE
ATTENTION OF POLICE.


3. (SBU) MALAWI DOES NOT HAVE ANY LAWS SPECIFICALLY
PROHIBITING TRAFFICKING; HENCE THE COURTS STRUGGLE TO
PROSECUTE TRAFFICKING CASES USING APPLICABLE KIDNAPPING
AND LABOR LAWS. THE MALAWIAN JUDICIARY HAS PREVIOUSLY
IMPOSED ONLY SMALL FINES (TYPICALLY LESS THAN USD 200) IN
SIMILAR CASES (INCLUDING AN ATTEMPT EARLIER THIS YEAR TO
SMUGGLE 10 EIGHT TO TWELVE-YEAR-OLD BOYS ACROSS THE SAME
BORDER). SUCH APPARENT LENIENCY HAD "OUTRAGED" HUMAN
RIGHTS WORKERS, MANDERE SAID. HIS ORGANIZATION FOLLOWED
THE CASES CLOSELY AND PRESSED THE GOVERNMENT OF MALAWI
(GOM) TO METE OUT SENTENCES "COMPATIBLE WITH THE GRAVITY
OF THE CRIMES." WHILE PLEASED WITH THE RECENT
CONVICTIONS, MANDERE NOTED HIS FRUSTRATION WITH THE
MALAWIAN GOVERNMENT, WHICH WAS "MOVING TOO SLOWLY" TO
ADOPT ANTI-TRAFFICKING LEGISLATION.


4. (U) ALTHOUGH THE EXTENT OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN MALAWI
HAD NEVER BEEN QUANTIFIED, MANDERE BELIEVED THAT CHILD
TRAFFICKING FOR AGRICULTURAL LABOR WAS A WIDESPREAD
PROBLEM, AND THAT CHILDREN LIVING IN THE SOUTHERN REGION
WERE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE DUE TO CURRENT FOOD SHORTAGES.
HE WAS ENCOURAGED BY RECENT EFFORTS BY THE LABOR MINISTRY
TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HARMFUL CHILD LABOR PRACTICES.
THESE INCLUDED PRESS RELEASES, TRAINING ON THE NEWLY-
CREATED CHILD LABOR CODE OF CONDUCT, AND THE CREATION OF
A "HAZARDOUS WORK SCHEDULE" NOW AWAITING FINAL REVIEW
(REFTEL).


5. (SBU) COMMENT: THE GOM APPEARS TO BE MOVING IN THE
RIGHT DIRECTION IN ADDRESSING TRAFFICKING ISSUES. WE
SHOULD CONTINUE TO PRAISE THEM FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO
INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE CASES, AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO
RATIFY APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION TO PREVENT, SUPPRESS AND
PUNISH TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH UN
CONVENTIONS.

EASTHAM