2 ZAMBIANS STOPPED FROM BOARDING PLANE TO OMAN AT KAMUZU AIRPORT IN POTENTIAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASE
Two Zambians who were potential victims of human trafficking have returned home.
The two were in the company of three Malawians who were intercepted at Kamuzu International Airport in Malawi as they they attempted to Board a direct flight to Oman.
Below is a joint statement by Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga and Department of Immigration public relations officer Namati Nshinka
Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 2nd March, 2022, welcomed back home two (02) potential female Victims of Trafficking (VoTs) who are both in their twenties. Based on the bilateral cooperation and intelligence between authorities in Zambia and Malawi, the Zambians, together with three (03) other Malawians, were intercepted by Malawian Immigration personnel at Kamuzu International Airport on 5th February, 2022 as they attempted to board a direct flight to Oman in a suspected case of human trafficking. The Malawian authorities intercepted the potential victims of trafficking following a request from the Zambian Government to the Malawian Government through the diplomatic channels to stop one (01) of the Zambian females from boarding. This was after a concerned citizen filed a missing person report with Immigration and Police on 4th February and 5th February, 2022, after receiving information that she was en route to Oman via Malawi.
As was the case with the two (02) Zambians who exited Zambia for Malawi through Mwami Border Control on 3rd February, 2022 before being intercepted at Kamuzu International Airport on 5th February, it has become apparent that more and more Zambians travelling to the Middle East Countries for employment avoid using International Airports because of the strict protocols. To this end, Officials at all ports of entry should always be on high alert to detect these kinds of incidents.
The interception of the potential victims of trafficking is a success story for Zambia’s counter-trafficking efforts coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking. The case has demonstrated the importance of inter-agency, inter-ministerial, and international coordination and collaboration in the fight against human trafficking. The case is particularly gratifying to all stakeholders involved because we have prevented two (02) Zambians from falling into the ruthless hands of traffickers through a concerted effort.
Following the wishes of both potential victims, the Inter-Ministerial Committee shall respect their right to privacy; hence their identities shall remain withheld. The withholding of their identity is also for their safety. Further, considering the ordeal they have gone through, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for the protection of vulnerable migrants in Zambia, will provide all the necessary services to assist them in recovering from any potential trauma.
This case should serve as a serious warning to trafficking networks. Government Agencies no longer combat trafficking in a fragmented manner but instead in a more collaborated and well-coordinated approach. This shift in policy has demonstrated clear potential for more successful arrests and prosecution of traffickers.
Although the prosecution of the two (02) Malawian suspects will continue in Malawi, and the Zambians testified in the matter, investigations will continue in Zambia to establish the trafficking network involved in the attempted trafficking of the said potential victims. Further, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Trafficking will continue to work collaboratively with other partners to take action at every opportunity to dismantle and disrupt these criminal networks.
While it is tempting to over-celebrate this success story, we cannot afford to sit on our laurels because these two (02) potential victims are the lucky ones as many more others have and continue facing worse fates at the hands of these criminals. Furthermore, the rescue of the two females could not have been possible had the case not been reported to the law enforcement agencies. To this end, we wish to encourage members of the public to report any suspected cases of human trafficking to the nearest Police or Immigration Offices.
We wish to warn members of the public, especially families or friends of potential victims, travel and employment agencies to guard themselves against being used as recruiters by traffickers.
Rae Hamoonga (Mr)
+260 211 250289
Namati H. Nshinka (Mr)
PRO-Department of Immigration
+260 211 255282