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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 16:29 GMT
Malawi issues birth certificates
Madonna and her adopted son
Madonna's adoption of a Malawian baby was dogged by controversy
Malawi is to introduce compulsory birth certificates in an attempt to combat a growing child trafficking problem.

Malawian citizens have not been required to have birth or death certificates before.

The government now plans to issue the documents not only to new born children, but also to all of the country's 12 million citizens.

Officials say the move will also reduce confusion in adoption cases - such as Madonna's adoption of a Malawian boy.

Madonna adopted a one-year-old Malawian boy from an orphanage but it was later discovered that his father was still alive.

Labour Minister David Katsonga will kick off the process by issuing certificates to children in the southern district of Mwanza this week.

Malawi lacks comprehensive child protection laws, and the International Labour Organisation says there is a lot of child trafficking for sex and labour in Malawi.

There have been cases of children - especially girls - being taken to Europe to work in the sex trade.

Authorities hope the new birth certificates will offer children some degree of protection, and make them less vulnerable to exploitation as child labourers.

Madonna adoption divides Malawi
16 Oct 06 |  Africa
Country profile: Malawi
15 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Malawi
15 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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