[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

NAMIBIA (Tier 2) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of Namibia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included identifying more victims and providing assistance for a large influx of male trafficking victims; repatriating Namibian victims exploited abroad; and providing anti-trafficking training to law enforcement and members of the judiciary. However, these efforts were not serious and sustained compared with the efforts during the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on the government’s anti-trafficking capacity. The government did not report on any of its efforts to investigate trafficking crimes or prosecute or convict traffickers. The government also did not report on its efforts to identify trafficking victims. The government inappropriately penalized victims with incarceration, fines, and deportation solely for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked and detained potential trafficking victims, even after identification as such by government officials, instead of referring them to care. Occasional breakdowns in communication between government officials and civil society and within government ministries led to a lack of coordination among members of the National Coordinating Body (NCB). Limited understanding and inconsistent use of the NRM and SOPs by front-line officials hindered overall efforts. Therefore Namibia was downgraded to Tier 2.

Prioritized Recommendations

Ensure victims are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Increase efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers, including officials complicit in trafficking crimes, address court backlogs, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.

Conduct trainings and multi-sector information sharing workshops for criminal justice and social welfare professionals on implementing the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2018.

Train law enforcement, immigration officials, healthcare workers, social workers, and other front-line responders on using the NRM and SOPs to proactively screen vulnerable populations, including individuals engaged in commercial sex, migrants, refugees, and Cuban medical workers, referring trafficking victims to services, especially in rural and border regions.

Strengthen coordination and collaboration mechanisms across government ministries and with civil society partners to ensure clear roles and responsibilities, effective anti-trafficking policies, and increased communication.

Increase funding to civil society partners that provide accommodation and care to trafficking victims.

Adopt the National Plan of Action (NAP) for Trafficking in Persons 2022-2027.

Expand efforts to raise public awareness of human trafficking indicators and risks through sensitization campaigns and community outreach, especially in rural areas.

Implement and consistently enforce strong regulations and oversight of labor recruitment companies, including by eliminating recruitment fees charged to migrant workers and holding fraudulent labor recruiters criminally accountable.