Malawi: General lack of understanding of the serious consequences of human trafficking and migrant smuggling
There is a general lack of understanding of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the region and its serious consequences such as arrest, imprisonment, unemployment, etc. However, some Malawi-based truck drivers are now made aware of the risks of transporting migrants and victims of trafficking, thanks to a program supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Criminals who smuggle or traffic humans within countries or across borders use all opportunities to transfer people for profit and exploitation. Truck drivers who transport goods throughout the vast African continent are being recruited to move people illegally, often unaware of the severity and consequences of this crime for themselves, the victims, and their employers.
Malawi is at the crossroads of several significant flows of people fleeing conflict, instability, and poverty in Central Africa and the Horn of Africa, providing opportunities for smugglers and traffickers and for Malawi’s 5000 registered international truck drivers. Smugglers often pay a lot of money to truck drivers to move illegal migrants who are usually very sick, tired, and malnourished.
Although most truck drivers know what they are doing is illegal, there is a general lack of understanding of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the region and the severe consequences such as arrest, imprisonment, unemployment, etc. However, Truck drivers based in Malawi are now learning about the risks of transporting migrants and trafficking victims, thanks to a program supported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The participants of the program are informed about the penalties they face if caught, including the loss of both their truck and employment, a criminal record, and potential imprisonment of up to 14 years in a foreign country. Moreover, the drivers are told that these crimes are linked to exploitation, abuse, and violence and can even result in death.
The final point is that drivers who work with smugglers and traffickers often do it out of necessity to supplement their low salaries. Thus, their working conditions need to be improved while also providing them with comprehensive training about the dangers of getting involved in these crimes. Only in this way, the human society can witness positive actions and results in dealing with this serious problem.