4 February 2016

Namibia Seeks U.S. Funding Against Human Trafficking

Namibia is seeking funding from the United States of America for a national awareness campaign on human trafficking, the government announced yesterday.

Information minister Tjekero Tweya made the revelation during a media briefing where he shared the outcomes of Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. The decision to approach the US comes more than a year after some parliamentarians denied that human trafficking is an issue in Namibia.

"Cabinet directed the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to engage the US Embassy to fund the National Awareness Campaign on Trafficking in Persons," Tweya told journalists. At Tuesday's meeting, Cabinet also approved the establishment of a national committee on trafficking in persons that will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

It is not clear yet how much funding government needs for the planned awareness campaign.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, during a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday, said the committee must still meet to discuss issues such as funding and modalities regarding the campaign.

"We [committee] are working on a programme, since this information is coming from the US annual report [human trafficking], they [USA] must really assist us," stated Nandi-Ndaitwah.

The deputy prime minister said the national committee will work out its campaign programme "to get an understanding of how those issues [human trafficking] work".

The committee will consist of officials from ministries such as international relations, home affairs, justice, labour, gender equality, safety and security as well as the offices of the attorney general and prosecutor general.

International relations permanent secretary Selma Ashipala-Musavyi will chair the technical committee which will be composed of the permanent secretaries of the selected ministries.

Cabinet also directed the gender equality and justice ministries to expedite the finalisation of the Draft Bill on Combatting Trafficking of Persons for tabling in the National Assembly.

Some Namibian parliamentarians in 2014 took offence at an international report that alleged that human trafficking and slavery are rife in Namibia.

Namibia is ranked as one of the countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is placed in the Tier 2 Watch List by the United States Congress.

According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, Namibia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

Tier 2 is a warning for countries that may fall into Tier 3.

Tier 3 comprises countries that do not meet the standards and are not making significant efforts to do so. Tier 3 countries are open to sanctions by the U.S. government.


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