Refugee arrested for human trafficking

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Windhoek – A 34-year-old Congolese male was arrested in December for attempting to smuggle three people.

According to the Namibian police, the refugee – who resides at Osire Refugee Camp – went to Zambia and lured three Zambian nationals (two male and one female) with promises of finding them work in Namibia.

The suspect was arrested at Kongola checkpoint in the Zambezi Region.

When asked to provide a pass-out transit document for refugees, it was discovered his document had expired.Upon investigation, the police found that the suspect was trying to smuggle three people into the country with the intent of transporting them to South Africa.

They were all due to be transported to South Africa via Windhoek.

They were found in possession of a police clearance, but on further inquiry it was found that the group had such documents on the pretext that they were traveling to Katima Mullilo to attend a funeral of a police officer, who had at the time lost his life.
This was all being done in pretence to ensure that they crossed the checkpoint without any difficulty.

The Congolese national has since been detained and now faces charges of human trafficking.

Namibian police spokesperson Warrant Officer Immanuel Lazarus told New Era that although there are currently no statistics or any records on the crime, human trafficking seems to be escalating in Namibia.

“Human trafficking in the country is a reality, even though the cases are hardly detected,” Lazarus said.

He further explained that most human trafficking victims are being lured with promises of jobs and study opportunities that are supposed to be easy to acquire in Namibia and in other SADC countries.

Another case of human trafficking was reported in June 2016, when Pedro Marcelino Moussongela, a pastor in the Mennonite Church, was arrested in connection with an alleged syndicate involved in transborder human trafficking, as well as rape.

Even with strong efforts from the police to curb human trafficking, back in 2014 the Tier 2 Watch List by the United States Congress ranked Namibia as one of the countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards of eliminating human trafficking.

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