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Friday 18 January 2019
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Human Trafficking not prevalent in Namibia: Govt

Thomas-F.-Daughton

Thomas-F. Daughton

Government is adamant that human trafficking is not a big issue in Namibia, despite accepting money from the United States of America to combat human trafficking in the country.
“The nation needs to be informed and educated about human trafficking” deputy minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maureen Hinda said during an interview with this publication.
The U.S. government said it will continue assisting Namibia, despite the denial
“We will help to strengthen the capacity with investigation methods and coordination between police and prosecutors.” The US Ambassador to Namibia Thomas Daughton said in an exclusive interview this week.
Government and the American Embassy last month launched a project aimed at strengthening coordination to respond to trafficking.
The embassy, through the United States department to monitor and combat trafficking in persons, contributed N$11 million towards the project.
According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, Namibia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however, it is making     significant efforts to do so.
The US State Department is mandated by Congress to rank countries based on efforts to fight human trafficking. The rankings are four-tiered. Tier 1 countries are those that meet     anti-trafficking standards. Tier 2 do not but are making a significant effort to do so. Tier 2 is a warning for countries that may fall into Tier 3.
“Government officials that I talk to in this country are well aware of this.” But our Embassy is not aware of the efforts made by government to combat human trafficking,” he said.
The US Ambassador also stated that another complication that he encountered is that most people do not understand what human trafficking is.
“The embassy has been trying to create public awareness as well as the understanding of the government officials such as the police and prosecutors. The event that was held this week was the first under the UN programs,” he said.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah questioned the information contained in the human trafficking report which she says may not be verified or interpreted.
“You find incidents which are reported, but if a child is found in a household, and is asked to go and collect firewood, and collect water for the pot, that is not child labour, we must understand the interpretation of child labour and that of trafficking.” Ndaitwah lamented.
Last year, a Swakopmund resident found guilty of trafficking children for sexual exploitation at the town in 2012, was sentenced to an effective 13 years imprisonment.
Johanna Lukas was on 04 June 2015 found guilty by High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb on five charges of human trafficking (trafficking in persons), which were dealt with in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 2004.
On the same date, the 22-year-old Lukas was also found guilty on four counts of rape after it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that she had procured three teenage girls to be sexually exploited by alleged paedophile Marthinus Pretorius at Swakopmund in April, May and June 2012 in the Erongo Region.
These four counts of rape were dealt with under the provisions of the Combating of Rape Act of 2000.
On each of the five counts of human trafficking, Lukas was jailed for five years, and on each of the four counts of rape, the youthful Lukas was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
The court ruled that the sentences imposed on four counts of human trafficking should run concurrently with the sentence imposed on count one of human trafficking.




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