Namibia: One Conviction From 31 Human Trafficking Cases

7 February 2018

Swakopmund — The Namibian prosecution has so far only recorded one successful conviction in terms of human trafficking, despite the fact that 31 cases have been reported in the country since 2010.

About 35 key players including members of the police, prosecutors and social workers are currently attending the training that will enable them to deal more effectively with human trafficking that could lead to more successful prosecutions and eventually convictions.

Police Deputy Commissioner, Sidney Philander, who spoke to New Era shortly after the official opening of a week-long training of trainers for criminal justice practitioners on victim centred investigations and prosecutions, said the first human trafficking case for Namibia was reported in 2010, at Walvis Bay.

According to Philander, a minor was the first official victim in Namibia, whereby she was trafficked from the Ohangwena region as a domestic worker by a female Walvis Bay resident.

Statics he provided also indicated that nine human trafficking cases were reported in 2017, while 2016 and 2015 each had six cases reported.

Philander also pointed out that two cases are currently featuring in the High Court, which could also lead to successful convictions.

In 2017, 45,000 victims were assisted of which 37 percent were female and children.

Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) officer in charge of Namibia, Sascha Nlabu says the organisation's 2017 global trafficking trends revealed that it assisted 40,000 human trafficking victims between 2006 and 2016 globally.

He explained that 43 percent of the victims were women while 57 percent were men.

The report, according to Nlabu indicated 81 percent of registered victims suffered labour exploitation while 11 percent suffered sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking is said to be the third largest international crime industry behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking, and generates a profit of N$384 billion while it displaces thousands and strips victims of their human rights and dignity. There are approximately 20 million to 30 million slaves in the world and about 80 percent of the victims are women and children.

According to Nlabu these figures only reflect a fraction of the global crisis as the real number of victims is not known as the majority of the cases go unreported.

"Human trafficking is a global concern, because every country is involved, be it as a country of origin or destination or country in transit. Hence no country or institution can say of itself to be in a position to combat human trafficking on its own," he said.

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