Namibia Ready to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Windhoek - On 29 March 2019, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in coordination with the National Coordinating Body (NCB) and with the support from the UN Migration Agency (IOM) launched the National Referral Mechanism and Standard Operating Procedures for the identification, protection, referral and safe return of victims of trafficking (VoTs) in Namibia at Windhoek Country Club. This achievement forms part of an initiative on “Strengthening Coordination in response to Trafficking in Persons (TiP) in Namibia”. The tool was developed to guide stakeholders in enhancing collaborated efforts in the implementation of combating TiP as well as to identify and protect VoTs.

Furthermore, on this same day an awareness raising campaign was launched to strengthen public vigilance on TiP. The awareness raising campaign is aimed at sensitising the youth who are more vulnerable to trafficking at will be rolled-out in the whole country. Speaking at the launch, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa stressed the importance of raising awareness amongst the youth. The main purpose of the campaign is to increase the knowledge of the public on TiP, prevent the public from falling prey to trafficker’s false promises and to encourage them to report or refer potential cases of TIPs.

The Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries. TiP also known as human trafficking has become the fastest growing crime and the second largest illegal trade in the world, generating over 150 billion US dollars a year globally. The trafficking of humans to be exploited for personal and financial gain transcends borders and continues to despite national and international laws prohibiting such offences. Namibia identified 21 VoTs in the year 2018 of which 5 were placed in non-governmental (NGO) shelters. Three (3) NGO shelters in Zambezi, Oshikoto and Khomas Region have been refurbished with the assistance from IOM to cater for the needs of VoTs in Namibia. IOM Director for Southern Africa, Mr Charles Kwenin, urged stakeholders and government to work together in combating TiPs saying, “No government can win this fight alone no matter how resourceful and committed it is.”

Additionally, a Police and Prosecutor training manual and pocket manual on TiP was launched on 27 March 2019 in Windhoek by the Ministry of Safety and Security with the support from IOM and UNICEF. The Training Manual is based on well-established international and regional standards and practices and formed part of the other training manuals (Gender Based Violence and Violence against Children) that were developed by UNICEF. The training manual will be rolled-out at Police Training College and will help increase knowledge among law enforcement officials on identifying TIP cases, protecting VoTs and prosecuting perpetrators.

These initiatives were funded by the US State Department on Combating Trafficking in Persons.