[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

MALAWI (Tier 2) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of Malawi does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.  The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Malawi remained on Tier 2.  These efforts included increasing convictions of traffickers and establishing six district committees to coordinate victim services and investigations.  The government trained law enforcement on identification and certification of trafficking victims.  The government deployed a task force to collaborate with a foreign government to identify and repatriate Malawians exploited abroad.  However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.  Due to the lack of shelters and other available protection services, police detained some victims during the investigation process and did not take adequate measures to prevent the re-traumatization of victims participating in criminal proceedings against traffickers.  Credible reports of official complicity continued to impede the government’s efforts to carry out anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts and proactively identify trafficking victims.

Prioritized Recommendations

Expand training on and usage of SOPs on victim identification and the NRM for front-line officials to systematically and proactively identify trafficking victims by screening vulnerable populations, including individuals involved in commercial sex, refugees, and returnees, and certify and refer all trafficking victims to appropriate services.

Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute sex and labor trafficking crimes, including complicit government officials, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.

Expand specialized training for police, immigration officials, prosecutors, and magistrates on investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes.

Collaborate with NGOs and international organizations to increase the government’s capacity to provide shelter and protective services to more trafficking victims.

Create guidelines to access and disburse funds allocated to the Anti-Trafficking Fund, ensuring appropriate use and allowing NGOs to access the funds when providing services to victims.

Increase protective services for victims participating in the criminal justice process to prevent re-traumatization, including establishing child-friendly interviewing spaces and ensuring victims receive basic needs.

Implement and consistently enforce strong regulations and oversight of labor recruitment companies, including by holding fraudulent labor recruiters criminally accountable.

Expand the collection of law enforcement and victim protection data for trafficking cases, specifically the number of victims referred and provided protective services, and compile data from all districts.

Strengthen district coordination committee anti-trafficking efforts through developing district-level action plans and increasing coordination on the provision of victim services and investigations.

Train labor inspectors to identify potential forced labor victims during routine inspections and to report potential trafficking violations to appropriate officials.

Develop and institutionalize mandatory pre-departure anti-trafficking training for all Malawian diplomats.

Increase awareness and monitoring of trafficking crimes, as well as efforts to identify traffickers and victims at border crossings and internal police checkpoints.