Windhoek-The International Organisation for Migration (IOM)’s global database has revealed that IOM has assisted 38,647 victims of human trafficking between 2006 and 2016.
In 2006 alone, 34 percent of those assisted were women, 51 percent were men and 14 percent children. The statistics show that one fifth of the cases happened within the countries in question, as opposed to cross-border.
Furthermore, 2016 statistics show that 81 percent of those registered suffered through labour exploitation, 31 percent suffered sexual exploitation and the rest suffered various forms of exploitation.
Although this is but the tip of the iceberg, these frightening statistics were revealed on Friday at the commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who also serves as the minister of international relations and cooperation, said all countries have to put in place mechanisms to stop human trafficking.
“Namibia provides services such as medical care, psycho-social support, legal assistance and shelter to victims of trafficking in persons, irrespective of their nationalities and origin,” she said.
She further said Cabinet has established a national committee for the effective coordination of the fight against trafficking in persons in Namibia.
“Namibia is currently running a programme that we call the anti-human trafficking initiative. The initiative runs for a period of three years and it is envisaged that by the end of this programme, Namibia would have the capacity to detect, investigate and successfully prosecute the trafficking offenders,” Nandi-Ndaitwah added.
She also said efforts to curb trafficking in persons would be fruitless if the root causes were not adequately addressed, such as escalating socio-economic crises, extreme poverty, wars, inequalities, discrimination and gender-based violence.
“Ignoring these root causes and a failure to confront them through international cooperation would be meaningless in our efforts to combat and prevent trafficking in persons,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
Ambassador of the United States of America to Namibia Thomas Daughton, who also spoke at that event, said Namibia continues to be a solid partner in the eradication of human trafficking. “Many of the people here today are leading the fight against human trafficking in this country. Their leadership has manifested itself in a number of practical ways,” Daughton said.
He highlighted that the Office of the Prosecutor General continues to bring suspected traffickers to justice and that the Namibian police continue to identify suspected traffickers and to provide training to new recruits on how to spot victims of trafficking.
“The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare is putting the final touches on a national referral mechanism to standardise the way in which trafficking victims are identified and cared for. Overseeing all these efforts is a committee that directs the national anti-trafficking effort and has convened a technical committee specifically charged with combatting trafficking,” he duly noted.