[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

MALAWI (Tier 2) Extracted from the U.S. State Dept 2020 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; therefore Malawi was upgraded to Tier 2. These efforts included increased prosecutions and convictions of traffickers. The government identified more trafficking victims and referred them to protective services, launched standard operating procedures (SOPs) and a national referral mechanism (NRM) for victim identification and assistance, and allocated money to the anti-trafficking fund. It coordinated with a foreign government and used the anti-trafficking fund to repatriate victims, and it also used the fund to support training for frontline officials and awareness campaigns. The government launched the second district-level anti-trafficking coordination structure in Phalombe, a district bordering Mozambique where trafficking risks are high. In coordination with an international organization, the government launched an awareness campaign at the national level, increased funding and hired more labor inspectors, and approved new labor recruitment regulations in alignment with the Trafficking in Persons Act. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. The government did not collect adequate prosecution and victim referral and protection data for trafficking cases. Credible reports of official complicity continued to impede the government’s efforts to combat trafficking, including allegations some police and immigrations officers were complicit in aiding traffickers that exploited Nepali women in Malawi. The government transferred a whistleblower police officer to a remote part of the country, allegedly to prevent the officer from further investigating and reporting on official involvement in the case. In two sensitive cases, judges granted traffickers bail, and, in one case, there were credible reports the trafficker continued to recruit women for labor trafficking in the Middle East while awaiting trial. Furthermore, several of his victims who were repatriated from Kuwait were retraumatized by seeing him in town. The government did not investigate or hold any complicit officials criminally accountable despite these credible allegations. The U.S. Department of State suspended the A-3 visa sponsorship privileges afforded to Malawi bilateral mission members as a result of an unpaid default judgement rendered against a former Malawian diplomat by a federal district court in 2016 for trafficking. During the reporting period, the diplomat continued to fail to pay the outstanding judgement, and the government had yet to report taking any further action to hold the diplomat accountable.

Prioritized Recommendations

Vigorously prosecute sex and labor traffickers and appropriately sentence convicted traffickers under the 2015 law, including government officials complicit in such crimes.Improve and expand the collection of prosecution and victim protection data for trafficking cases, specifically the number of victims referred and provided protective services.Ensure victims are protected from further exploitation, and refer them to available services. Increase the availability of shelters and protection services for victims, including through in-kind or material support to NGOs for expansion of direct service provisions.Support training and increase funding for judges, prosecutors, labor inspectors, and police to identify, investigate, and prosecute trafficking crimes.Enter lists of shelters for trafficking victims in the official gazette in order for the law to be fully operational.Increase awareness and monitoring of trafficking crimes, as well as efforts to identify traffickers and victims at border crossings and internal police checkpoints.