In the end of October 2011 Norwegian Church Aid in cooperation with Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) organized a regional conference to discuss the issues of human trafficking. People from the from the world of NGOs, academia and diplomatic communities were present and greatly contributed to some fruitful discussions.
The Norwegian Church Aid in cooperation with MHRC wanted to organize this three day conference to develop areas and themes for regional cooperation and networking in combating human trafficking. Additionally, they also wanted to document effective strategies for combating human trafficking in the region.
The seminar started Tuesday morning with opening remarks by the Norwegian Ambassador Asbjørn Eidhammer followed by an official opening by the Honorable Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development, Ms. Reen Kachere.
Human trafficking, often qualified as the ‘modern day slavery’, is caused by human rights violations embodied in poverty while it also contributes to increased deprivation. In other words, poverty is one of the main factors leading people, especially women and children, to fall preys to the traffickers. In turn, human trafficking locks up the trafficked persons in poverty through exploitation. A baseline study conducted in Malawi by Norwegian Church Aid and its local partners showed that episodes of intra-regional trafficking is common in Africa. Some countries, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe, are countries of origin and destination, while Mozambique, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo appear to be primarily origin countries. South Africa is mainly a trafficking destination for victims from countries within and outside the region.
Through funding from the Norwegian Embassy, Norwegian Church Aid has been implementing a project on Trafficking since 2007. The first phase ended in 2009 and the second phase began in 2010-2013. The findings indicate that trafficking is prevalent in Malawi and that victims are mostly children and women.