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Illustrative picture: Zambézia police concerned about increasing trafficking in persons
Trafficking in human beings is a major concern for Zambezia police in central Mozambique.
In the last two weeks, 25 people have escaped from traffickers.
The latest case occurred last Friday (02.11.), when, according to the police, three traffickers tried to sell a 17-year-old boy for more than 41,000 US dollars in Vila do Mulumbo in the north of Zambézia province, near Malawi.
But a man posing as a buyer informed the authorities, Zambezia police spokesman Sidner Lonzo said.
“The three individuals wanted to sell this child for 30 million kuachas, equivalent to 2,550,000 meticais. They are now in custody and the process is following legal procedures The minor has been returned to his family. We want to call on the general population to always be aware of these acts of trafficking in human beings,” he said.
Second case in two weeks
This is the second case in the space of two weeks. The other occurred in Namacura district, where police intercepted a bus carrying 22 men and two Mozambican boys accompanied by citizens of Congolese nationality.
“According to declarations in our possession, there were two children under 16 years of age who were to be used for agricultural work in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Lonzo said.
Lonzo said the police were worried about people trafficking. Security at the border had been strengthened and the authorities had been in contact with community leaders to alert the population.
But Gabriela Gaspar, a community activist, says more needs to be done.
“When will this end? We, as mothers, feel very deep about this, we have children who are being abducted, we are asking the government to help them to conduct a campaign that can end this.”
Lack of information and high unemployment rate
Human rights activist Maria Isabel says that trafficking in people in Zambezia province is linked to the lack of information from families and the high unemployment rate. Although recent data from Zambézia’s provincial labour directorate indicates that 13% of the province’s youth is unemployed, it is thought that the real figure is much higher.
“There are a lot of unemployed people here in Zambézia. The factories that did exist, none of them are working. The government has to look into this. There are many unemployed young people, they dream so much and the dream fails to materialise. Because of this problem, one is easily convinced because the person has no way of sustaining oneself, and it is also necessary to train families – most of them are not aware of trafficking in human beings, we must take into account that the family is the guarantor of society.”
Trafficking in persons is a frequent crime in Zambézia province. Maria Isabel calls on the government to act swiftly, not only to catch the traffickers and bring them to justice, but also to make far-reaching reforms that will improve the lives of the population.Source: Deutsche Welle