Malawi has today 30th June, 2020 joined the United Nations on Drug and Crime UNDC) and the whole World in commemorating world day against trafficking in person.
This year the day is observed under the theme “committed to the cause’ working on the Frontline to End human trafficking. The theme clearly underlines the significant roles the first responders to human trafficking play.
According to a statement released by Malawi Network Against Trafficking ( MNAT), this year’s event is focusing on frontliners in the fight against trafficking persons. The Frontliners are the people who work tirelessly in different sectors to identify, support, counsel and seek justice for victims of human trafficking.
Law Enforcement officers, health workers , counsellors, the Judiciary, government and NGO staff, social workers among others are the people who are recognized as the first responders to human trafficking.
In Malawi, the frontliners work hand in hand with collective efforts to combat human trafficking.
Maxwell Matewele who is the National Coordinator to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime here in Malawi noted that this year commemoration they are honoured as first responders helping to end the crime of human trafficking which is a good development.
“In this year commemoration we are very pleased to be honoured as first responders helping to end the crime to human trafficking: law enforcement, social workers, healthcare, proffessionals, NGO staff and many others working around the world to protect the vulnerable. Like the Frontline heroes saving lives and sustaining our societies in the Covid-19 pandemic,”
“We have also been keeping vital services going throughout the crisis identifying victims, ensuring their access to justice, health, social assistance and protection and preventing further abuse and exploitation”,said Matewele.
Matewele also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated many global inequalities, create new obstacles on the path to achieving the sustainable development goals and left millons of people at a greater risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage and other crimes.
“If the world is to put human dignity and human rights at the centre of the Covid-19 response and recovery, we need to do more to protect trafficking victims and prevent Trafficking in Persons, let us plegde to work for inclusive societies and economies that leave no one behind”,said Matewele.
In his remarks the Country’s MNAT National cordinator Caleb Thole said the Frontliners are facing alot of challenges which include, the Covid-19 pandemic, lack of resources, access to justice, no shelters, TIP fund and porous borders.
Thole calls upon government, the Ministry of Homeland security, non-governmental organization and bilateral partners to respond to these challenges.
Thole also hinted that MNAT, and it’s Membership reiterates it’s continued focus in the fight against human trafficking and working on the Frontline to ensure that children and adults who have been experienced human trafficking and their families get the support and care they need. He has since asked all citizens to join hands as they commit to the cause and work on the Frontline to end human trafficking in Malawi.