Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Malawi

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Malawi, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Malawi (Tier 2 Watch List)

Malawi is a source and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. There are reports that small numbers of women and children are internally trafficked to locations along Lake Malawi for sexual exploitation in the sex tourism industry. Child prostitution is a growing problem in Malawi; due in part to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, child prostitutes are in greater demand. Women are reportedly trafficked for sexual exploitation from Malawi to South Africa and Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. There are also claims of Malawians being trafficked to Zambia and Tanzania for forced prostitution. Zambian women are reportedly trafficked for forced prostitution to brothels on the outskirts of Lilongwe and Blantyre.

The Government of Malawi does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Malawi has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List because of a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, particularly evident in the complete lack of investigations and prosecutions during the year. The government should pass comprehensive legislation to criminalize all forms of trafficking and initiate broad victim protection programs that address the problem of child prostitution.


No law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons. Legislation to criminalize trafficking was introduced in 2002, but was subsequently withdrawn in 2003. Some traffickers can be prosecuted under the penal code, which criminalizes the transport of a woman from Malawi for purposes of prostitution. Malawian law also prohibits prostituting other persons, receiving money from such practices, and procuring any girl under the age of 21 for sexual relations. The constitution prohibits slavery and servitude. Malawian police worked with Interpol and the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Organization to identify and investigate potential traffickers, but the government did not actively investigate or prosecute any trafficking cases in 2003.


The government provides limited protection services to trafficking victims. In 2003, the government provided counseling, rehabilitation, and relocation assistance to teenage boys sexually exploited at Lake Malawi.


The Ministry of Gender and Community Services periodically reviews trafficking cases, but was not presented with an opportunity to do so during the year. In 2003, the government worked with the ILO to study the magnitude of child labor, including child prostitution, in Malawi. The results of the study have not yet been released. The government began issuing machine-readable passports with anti-fraud protection to strengthen immigration controls, tighten border security, and decrease cross-border trafficking. Passport applicants must apply in person and provide supporting identity documents.

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