Windhoek — International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has announced that Namibia is finalising the regulations for the law on trafficking in persons to become operational.
Namibia has enacted a law on trafficking in persons, Act No. 1 of 2018.
She made the remarks on the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Although the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act is still yet not in force, trafficking in persons is criminalised under the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, Act 29 of 2004.
Section 15 of the said Act makes it a crime for anyone to participate or to aid and abet trafficking in persons as contemplated in Annex II of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said there are currently 35 cases of trafficking in persons reported that are receiving the attention of NamPol as well as the courts.
A total of 20 cases out of the 35 are on the court roll, pending trial, while 15 cases are still under investigation.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said the government strongly condemns the spate of trafficking in persons - women and men, boys and girls.
This year the day is remembered under the theme, 'Human Trafficking: Call your Government to action'.
She noted the theme is domesticated to fit Namibia's current situation.
She said the call to action is not only to governments, but everyone should take action to prevent this heinous crime.
Nandi-Ndaitwah says that is why Namibia is party to several human rights instruments such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1992), UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, among others.
The commemoration of World Day against Trafficking in Persons is an important day for all human rights defenders to show their solidarity with the victims of human trafficking globally and to stress that there is a need to totally fight against this phenomenon happening in societies.
Namibia for the first time launched the commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in July 2016, and continues to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons every year in all fourteen regions.
Further, she said the government through the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in collaboration with stakeholders has finalised the National Referral Mechanism and Standard Operating Procedures.
The main purpose of the Standard Operating Procedures is for the Identification, Protection and Referral of Victims of Trafficking (VoTs) or Potential VoTs, at the appropriate time and manner.
She revealed that capacity building for key services providers on trafficking in persons was conducted and to date about 1 057 people were trained.
These include social workers, chief community liaison officers, traditional leaders, police officers, customs and excise officers, labour inspectors, teachers, learners and out-of-school youth.
Furthermore, she explained that the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has introduced a comprehensive training for all newly appointed immigration officers. Such training puts emphasis on how to identify, handle and follow the line of command to report suspected cases of human trafficking.
The Namibian police have also developed training manuals used at the police training for the new recruits.
With regard to provision of services and care for victims of human trafficking, she said services are available for all victims of crimes including victims of trafficking in persons, irrespective of their nationalities.