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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                           

Republic of Namibia

The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export. Mining accounts for 8% of GDP, but provides more than 50% of foreign exchange earnings.

The mining sector employs only about 3% of the population while about half of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihood. Namibia normally imports about 50% of its cereal requirements; in drought years food shortages are a major problem in rural areas. A high per capita GDP, relative to the region, hides one of the world's most unequal income distributions.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Namibia

Namibia is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Namibian children are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude and forced agricultural labor, cattle herding, vending, and commercial sexual exploitation. In some cases, Namibian parents may have unwittingly sold their children into trafficking conditions, including child prostitution. There have been reports of Namibian children being trafficked to South Africa, typically by truck drivers, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Zambian and Angolan children are trafficked to Namibia for domestic servitude, agricultural labor, and livestock herding.  - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Namibia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Namibia: Human Trafficking A Headache for Police

John Ekongo, New Era, Windhoek, 24 September 2008

[partially accessed 9 September 2011 - access restricted]

"After 10 years of Interpol working group meetings on trafficking, I would argue that we still know amazingly little. We have only a vague idea of the scale of the crime and the way it is organized. We know fairly little about the traffickers. We understand fragments of the recruitment process, we know a little about how the money is moved but not enough to make an impact through the seizing of assets."  Kvigne said the gaps in understanding this problem could be attributed to the diversity of the crime as it differs from one country to another.

Deputy Inspector General for Administration at the Namibian Police, Major General James Tjivikua said trafficking has become a major concern in the region.  Tjivikua added that the trafficking of persons especially women and children is worsened by a number of factors, the leading cause being that of profit.  The trafficking of human beings is a multi-faceted area of crime incorporating crimes as diverse as trafficking for forced labour into the agriculture sector or manufacturing industries, trafficking in human organs and sexual services for promised better opportunities.  The clandestine nature of human trafficking makes the scale of the illicit industry difficult to assess and there are few reliable statistics on the number of persons trafficked in the Southern African region.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Namibia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 18 June 2021]


The government investigated allegations of forced or compulsory labor and found no prosecutable cases.


Children worked herding goats and sheep on communal farms owned by their families. Children also worked as child minders or domestic servants and in family businesses, including informal “businesses” such as begging or street hawking. NGOs reported rising commercial sexual exploitation of girls, particularly in cities and in transit corridors (see section 6).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 4 August 2020]


The constitution outlaws slavery and servitude, however Namibia lacks minimum standards required to fully address human trafficking. Forced child labor is rife in the agricultural sector and in people’s homes. In 2019 the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and the National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence took effect, all to combat human trafficking. In August 2019, there were about 20 cases before the courts and 15 cases subject to police investigation. In July, a woman was convicted for trafficking a 15-year-old girl. In spite of these positive developments, the 2018 Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act is still pending. The inadequate funding of organizations fighting this scourge poses further challenges.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 723]

Children are trafficked within Namibia for forced labor in agriculture, cattle herding, domestic work, and commercial sexual exploitation. San children are particularly vulnerable to forced labor on farms or in homes. (15; 3) Some Angolan children are trafficked into Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding. (4; 3) The government has not collected and published data on child labor, including its worst forms, to inform policies and social programs.

A Baseline Assessment of Human Trafficking in Namibia [PDF]

Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare MGECW, June 2009

[accessed 2 September 2012]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY -- IV. Assessment Findings -- A. Incidence

A small number of cases of human trafficking were identified. However, it is possible that there might be more cases. The difficulties in ascertaining the exact standing of possible cases stemmed from two general factors: (1) limited time for follow-up investigation where the available facts  were inadequate; and, (2) conflation of terminology and understanding of trafficking,  smuggling and illegal migration. One of the major difficulties in assessing potential trafficking cases is the lack of definitional clarity about trafficking on the part of both lay- and professional personnel.

However, some cases of human trafficking were found, including both labour exploitation and sexual exploitation. Examples included: (1) a Zambian national trafficking Zambian boys into Namibia for farm work exploitation; (2) in Walvis Bay, a mother using her teenage daughter from the north for sexual exploitation through forced prostitution. The latter case was turned over to the local authorities for action and response.

Additional cases of suspected or possible trafficking were also found. These were defined as fact patterns that indicated that while trafficking was one possible scenario that would explain or be consistent with the facts,  other scenarios could not be excluded as an explanation. Examples include trucks being stopped at border posts and individuals being found hidden in the trucks. However, no reliable information was available on the ultimate purpose for which the individuals were being moved. This fact pattern could support a myriad of findings – trafficking that was intercepted or human smuggling or a case of illegal migration. As such, it could only be classified as a case of possible or suspected trafficking.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 1994

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[10] Equally, the Committee is concerned at the situation of children in especially difficult circumstances, including the incidence of child labour, particularly on farms and in the informal sector, and the number of children dropping out of school.

The Protection Project - Namibia [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - There is little evidence that trafficking for prostitution is widespread in Namibia; however, at least one case has been reported, which involves the transport of young Namibian women to South Africa for forced prostitution.  In 2002, a member of parliament appealed to other legislators to enact a bill to outlaw domestic and other forms of abuse with respect to children who were being trafficked for the sex trade at a farm in the Aris area near the outskirts of Windhoek. There, parents and grandparents were reportedly forcing their children into prostitution in return for alcohol.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons, and there were no reports of persons being trafficked to, from, or within the country; however, child prostitution occurred. The law also prohibits slavery, kidnapping, and forced labor, including forced prostitution, child labor, and alien smuggling. Traffickers were subject to fines of up to $166,000 (N$ one million) or up to 50 years' imprisonment.

The Department of Labor’s 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor [PDF]

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2007

[accessed 9 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - In 1999, approximately 15.5 percent of boys and 13.9 percent of girls ages 5 to 14 were working in Namibia. The majority of working children were found in the agricultural sector (91.4 percent), followed by services (8.2 percent), manufacturing (0.4 percent), and other sectors (0.1 percent). Children work in commercial and subsistence agriculture, the informal sector, and domestic service. Children find self-employment in basket weaving, traditional beer making, selling fruits and vegetables, barbering, milking cows, and farming communal land. To support their households, children also tend livestock, hunt, fish, and gather wild foods. Children from Angola, Zambia, and other countries neighboring Namibia reportedly enter the country illegally and work on communal farms. Children from poor rural households frequently assist extended family in urban centers with house cleaning, cooking, and child care, in exchange for food, shelter, and sometimes clothes and money. Numerous HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children are reportedly engaged in commercial sexual exploitation.

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