BLANTYRE(MaraviPost)—Phalombe district is increasingly becoming an outlet of child traffickers with latest being the arrest of nine people who were trafficking seven children below the age of 17 from Malawi to neighbouring Mozambique.
According to eastern region police assistant Public Relations Officer Constable Otilia Kumanga said five of the suspects are Mozambicans from Zambezia province whereas the four are from senior chief chikowi in Zomba.
She identified the Mozambican suspects as Rogers Nawiliko, James Robert, Bauleni Tchulani, Clayton Josolo, and Andrea Master.
The Malawian suspects are the Amos and Tamandani Nthibula from Kalaundi village, and the Gauti brothers – Manuel and Steven from Bwanali village.
Constable Kaumanga said the suspects connived with their friends in neighbouring Mozambique where the seven children were expected to be employed as workers in farms.
“Community policing forum at Phaloni Trading Centre in Phalombe district suspected something after seeing the suspects together with the children.
“Upon querying their motives, the suspects could not properly explain and were eventually arrested. They were then taken to Phaloni police unit,” she said.
Phalombe Police Public Relations Officer Sergeant Augustus Nkhwazi told media that cases of child trafficking in the district are increasing and if government does not respond swiftly, Malawi will lose a lot of children into Mozambique.
“It is sad because these children are young, not equal to the tasks assigned to them. They also drop out of school to go and work in the estates in Mozambique and the worst thing is that at the end of the season they get a bicycle as their payment,” said Nkhwazi.
He further asked the communities to join hands to work with the police to bring this malpractice to an end.
The nine suspects will answer charges of Child trafficking contrary to section 79 of the child care protection and justice Act.
Reports show that over thirty children cross the boarders of Malawi to Mozambique weekly through Phalombe and Zomba district.
Last month Police arrested Gosten Likangala and Mavuto Chikapa for allegedly being involved in the trafficking of five children to Mozambique.
The suspects were reportedly to have travelled around villages of the five children in Zomba where they conviced their parents that they have found jobs for the children in Mozambique.