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“COMMUNITY BYLAWS: ASSISTING VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING”

“COMMUNITY BYLAWS: ASSISTING VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING”

“We were surprised to notice that our 16 year old daughter CR (not her real name) was not present in our household” says BR (not real name). We then started searching for her in our community that’s when we found out that she had left for Tanzania. CR’s story is one of many in the bordering districts of Malawi and Tanzania where young girls and boys are trafficked to Tanzania to work in households, shops and restaurants among others.

CR says, “I travelled to Tanzania in the beginning of 2024 after being enticed by an individual from our community that I would find a good job and would make a lot of money and I left without informing my parents. In Tunduma (Tanzania), I started work as a house-help and was not alone in the compound, there were two other underage girls with whom I used to work with”.

BR says that after finding out that she had left for Tanzania, they decided to alert the Village Development Committee (VDC) and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) volunteer ES(not real name) who then informed CCJP officer Moses Mwakisalu.

“As a VDC, we have a set of bylaws to curb child trafficking, child labour, early marriages and school dropout as were were previously encountering such problems and we were trained by CCJP on minute documentation and setting of bylaws at community level. After the training we started to sensitize the community on the bylaws we had set for the community and it was then that BR reported to us that his child CR had been trafficked to Tunduma for work”, says ES who is a CCJP volunteer.

“CCJP Officer Mwakisalu then guided us on the steps we were supposed to take and we got the phone number of the person who had taken her to Tunduma and requested that she be sent back to Malawi” says BR. He however went on to state that even though the girls are trafficked to Tanzania with the idea that they will be working in households and shops, there are rumors that a lot more than the eye sees goes on and the girls are forced to engage in promiscuous activities when they arrive in Tanzania.

CCJP officer Mwakisalu states that the problem of child trafficking is a big issue along the borderline as most of the children that are trafficked are underage and are deceived with opportunities of making a lot of money across the border. “We are making progress as the community is now following the bylaws that are set and parents are able to report when a child is suspected of being trafficked however there is need for more sensitization along the borderline on issues of child trafficking”, says Mwakisalu.

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