Stakeholders wants stiffer penalty on human traffickers

Zungu: guidelines will harmonize the implementation of trafficking in persons act

By Lovemore Khomo

Stakeholders against human trafficking including members of the Malawi Judiciary have proposed for stiffer penalties against offenders to deter other to be offenders.

The proposals have been made on Monday in Lilongwe during validation meeting of Trafficking in Persons Sentencing Guidelines.

The Trafficking in Person Act stipulates, “That a person who trafficks another person commits the offence termed trafficking in persons and shall, upon conviction, be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years without the option of a fine.”

During the meeting, the Malawi Law Commission proposed for increase in years given out as penalties on sentencing offenders to fifteen years while other participants shown interest on ten years.

In his reaction, Judiciary Registrar Justice Joseph Chigona explained that the guidelines will help members of the judiciary to give out meaningful sentences to trafficking in persons offenders.

Chigona elaborated that the sentencing guidelines, on the other hand, shall help judges and magistrates with guidance on how to deal the case and ensure there is timeframe on such a case.

Kayuni: “it will ensure efficiencies on justice delivery in the country,”

Meanwhile, Secretary for Homeland Security Steve Kayuni emphasized the role of government play to deal with trafficking in persons saying, “There are serious efforts to deal with the vice, for we are working on raising awareness through law enforcement agencies and nationwide.”

Kayuni further expressed gratitude over formulation of the guidelines, saying “it will ensure efficiencies on justice delivery in the country,” and called all stakeholders for concerted efforts to deal with Trafficking in persons in Malawi.

In her remarks, Executive Director for CADECOM Mandinda Zungu said the guidelines will harmonize the implementation of trafficking in persons act. Zungu pointed that the Trafficking in Persons Act had some discrepancies on penalties where some offenders were getting lenient sentences and fines against a proportion of an offense.

Malawi has recently experienced trafficking in persons activities with others trapped in the gulf countries of Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and are seeking for their repatriation back to Malawi.

The government trained law enforcement on identification and certification of trafficking victims and deployed a task force to collaborate with a foreign government to identify and repatriate Malawians exploited abroad which has yielded low.

The proposed validation of trafficking in persons sentencing guidelines meeting was organized by the Judiciary and CADECOM Blantyre with funding from the United States Department of State through Plan International Malawi.

CADECOM Blantyre is implementing a three-year project in Mulanje and Mwanza on enhancing capacity of frontline workers.

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