Malawi court sentences Chinese nationals for human trafficking

The Principal Resident Magistrate’s court in Lilongwe has sentenced three Chinese nationals to six years imprisonment for human trafficking.

Zhang Yan Qing, Zhou Yan Hu, and Mian Chen were found guilty of trafficking two Malawian women to China on the pretext of marriage.

According to State Prosecutor Senior Superintendent Louis Makiyi, the first two convicts illegally married the victims, who are aged 20 and 22, in March, last year.

Prosecutor Makiyi told the court that when the convicts got to Kamuzu International Airport bound for China, they were netted by police following a tip.

In court, the trio pleaded not guilty to trafficking in person charges, prompting the State to unleash its five witnesses.

Prosecutor Makiyi argued for a lengthy sentence saying the accused took advantage of the victims’ poverty to lure them into China for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

But through their lawyer, Qing, who does not have both arms, prayed for leniency on the grounds of his disability.

Passing sentence, Principal Resident Magistrate Rodrick Michongwe quashed Qing’s mitigation, saying disability should not be used as a tool to break the laws.

Michongwe further said the accused were well organised in their criminal enterprise, by posing as husbands while it was all their intention to exploit the victims in China.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Police Service through its deputy spokesperson for Central West Region Police Headquarters sub inspector Foster Benjamin has vowed to bring all perpetrators of crimes to justice while protecting the citizenry.

“A lot of foreigners are preying on the vulnerable, particularly the women and girls in cases of human trafficking, but on our side as the police, we have been moving up and down to contain these kinds of heinous crimes, our investigators have been pursuing such cases to the conclusion we have managed to successfully secure a conviction of these perpetrators.

“So, this sentencing has come at the right time, and has also sent out a powerful message that those who commit such crimes will be held accountable, and that the police will leave no stone unturned to protect the vulnerable particularly women and girls who are involved in human trafficking as victims,” said Benjamin.

Additional reporting by sub inspector Foster Benjamin, deputy spokesperson for Central West Region Police Headquarters 

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