Oshakati-It was announced at a multi-disciplinary training session on human trafficking on Monday that the black market in humans is the third largest international syndicate, after illicit drugs and illegal arms dealing.
Speaking at the event Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa informed delegates that human trafficking is the third largest international crime generating profits of $32 billion (N$401 billion) every year.
She was speaking during the official opening of the training session on human trafficking at Oshakati in the Oshana Region. Most shockingly, she remarked that 20-30 million people live under the bondage of slavery in the world today.
Citing the United States Department, she stated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, 80 percent of whom are females and some of them children.
Namibia is not immune to human trafficking and slavery, and certain incidents point to the existence of a problem, such as the case of an 11-year-old Namibian boy who went missing and was found in South Africa.
She said Angolan children below the age of 16 are found in Namibia alone on a daily basis without their parents. “Some are selling sweets and apples on the streets. Others are employed as housekeepers and cattle herders. Those who are paid are being paid below the required wages in law,” she said.
She said it was out of concern over the growing number of incidents of suspected human trafficking in the country that her office decided to seek the assistance of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to train local persons from various institutions, who would in turn train others on the subject of human trafficking.
“The request for training was also driven by the realisation that for this country to effectively fight this ugly crime, those in positions where they can detect the crime should know how to do so,” she said.
Those tasked with investigations should know how to investigate the said crime and those who have a duty to assist victims of crime should understand the nature of the crime to properly assist the victims.
This training, she noted, would train people tasked with prosecuting crime in the country to understand the elements of the crime and the challenges it present in order to effectively prosecute the offenders and ensure they are punished.
Speaking at the same occasion Police Inspector-General General Sebastian Ndeitunga said from 2010 to 2017 some 25 cases of human trafficking were recorded by the police force.
He said six cases are on the court roll pending trial, three prosecutions were declined by the prosecutor-general, one accused was convicted and another was acquitted of the crime.
Ndeitunga said there is no new case awaiting the prosecutor-general’s decision, while 14 cases are under investigation.