Karonga — District Social Welfare Officer for Karonga Atupere Mwalweni says about 15 girls from Traditional Authority Kilupula are feared to have been trafficked to Tanzania between January and June this year (2019).
This was revealed during commemoration of the Day of the African Child conducted at Kaundi Primary School in the area with funding from Evangelical Association of Malawi.
Mwalweni said recent reports from police indicate that about 15 girls were taken to Tanzania by unknown people, where they are reported to be working as housekeepers among other jobs.
"We have so far received about 15 cases of trafficking of girls to Tanzania. The locals in T.A. Kilupula call this malpractice 'Mapogolo'. The girls are sent to work in people's houses among other jobs which we are not sure of.
"Alongside the theme of this year which is emphasizing on children rights, as social welfare office we are working hard to ensure that children are protected even at community level through Village Child Protection Committees," Mwalweni said.
She said children face a lot of challenges during disasters when the focus is more on food and shelter than education.
On Child marriages, the social welfare officer said her office recently repatriated about 42 children from marriages out of which 20 were sent back to school.
Programmes Officer for Evangelical Association of Malawi, Matchona Phiri, said through Community Action for the Transformation of Children's Health Project, EAM ensures protection of children, including those with disabilities.
He said the project further promotes access to primary education for such children.
Phiri said through the project, EAM has constructed CBCCs and trained over 120 caregivers and provided bursary scheme for about 85 girls in various secondary schools.
Guest of honour to the function, Traditional Authority Kilupula said he had instituted bylaws that are set to punish parents involved in child marriages in his area.
District Commissioner for Karonga Emmanuel Bulukutu said the council was working hard to ensure issues of child protection are incorporated in the district plans.