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Human Trafficking

Prevalence, Abuse & Exploitation of Street Children

In the first decade of the 21st Century                                                 

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: Namibia

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text 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 validate their authenticity or to verify 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 aspect(s) of street life are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got there, how they survive, and how some manage to leave the street.  Perhaps your paper could focus on how some street children abuse the public and how they are abused by the public … and how they abuse each other.  Would you like to write about market children? homeless children?  Sexual and labor exploitation? begging? violence? addiction? hunger? neglect? etc.  There is a lot to the subject of Street Children.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  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: Omaheke Kids Turn to Crime

Surihe Gaomas, New Era (Windhoek), 5 July 2007

[accessed 25 December 2016]

There is an upsurge in serious crime among street children in Omaheke region, with children as young as 10 years counting among the suspects accused of murder, rape, stock theft and the abuse of dagga.  Revealing these findings to New Era on Tuesday, Rahimisa Ndjarakana, a social worker at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in Gobabis, said the trend now in the region was that minors end up raping other minors.  "There are in fact much fewer cases of adults raping children, as compared to children raping children. Early this year, there was also a case where three boys all aged 10 years raped a girl who was even younger than them," said Ndjarakana.


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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]

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.

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]

CHILDREN - Although the constitution provides children with the right to primary and junior secondary education (grades one to 10), the numerous fees, which included fees for uniforms, books, boarding costs, and school improvement, placed a heavy burden on students' families and precluded some children from attending school.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] There are laws to protect children from exploitation in the workplace; however, child labor continued to be a problem. Criminal penalties and court orders were available to the government to enforce child labor laws, but such action involved a complicated legal procedure. Under the law, the minimum age for employment is 14 years, with higher age requirements for night work and in certain sectors such as mining and construction. The minimum age was inconsistent with the age for completing education requirements (see section 5). Children below the age of 14 often worked on family owned commercial farms and in the informal sector, and some also worked in communal areas.

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]

[3} The Committee welcomes the political commitment within the country to improve the situation of children. The Committee also wishes to express its appreciation as regards the Government's willingness to be self-critical and to search for creative and innovative approaches to address the problems facing children in society. The Committee takes particular note of the following initiatives: the activities undertaken to promote greater public awareness of the rights of the child, also among children themselves; the encouragement of cooperation with the local, national and international communities in efforts to promote and protect the rights of the child; the Early Childhood Protection and Development Programme; the "street children" programme; the "Discipline from Within" Programme in the schools; and the development of Youth Councils.

Flood Camps Develop Own ‘Culture’

Helvy Tueumuna, New Era, Oshakati, 14 Apr 2009

[accessed 20 September 2011]

A group of boys are said to have been sleeping in the dry drainage pipe situated at the centre of the camp.   According to the women at the camp, these children wait until everyone at the flood camp is asleep before they sneak into their ‘bedroom’.   During a recent meeting held by Oshana Regional Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa and flood victims at Oshoopala Flood Camp, the street kids’ situation was among the issues discussed. Since then, it was decided that the street children would get a tent, bedding, food and pots.   “The governor and other officials were shocked to see where the boys were sleeping. The drainage is very dangerous.   “If it rains heavily while they (boys) are sleeping, they will all drown and it will take time before someone discovers them,” said another woman.

Namibia: Kids Saved From Life On the Street

Mbatjiua Ngavirue, New Era, Windhoek, 8 October 2007

[accessed 25 December 2016]

The majority of street children were heavily steeped in a dagga and mandrax drug culture, as well as glue and petrol sniffing.

Fisch originally planned to operate the home as a day-care centre, where children arrived at 08h00 and left at 17h00 in the afternoon.  This arrangement, however, failed to break the cycle of negative and destructive behaviour they had caught their lives up in.  They would start abusing drugs again when they left the centre in the afternoons - and in some cases even criminal activity - returning in a morose and dulled state the next morning.

Namibia: Row Over Imprisoned Children

Wezi Tjaronda, New Era, Windhoek, 27 February 2008

[accessed 25 December 2016]

She said the concerned children had not committed any crimes and were not charged. But City Police spokesperson Marx Hipandwa said street children were a problem in that they robbed tourists, caused malicious damage to property, shop lifted and broke into people's houses. He said in January and February alone, the kids committed seven crimes. Big Step's Mathew Rukoro said most kids were not criminals but some robbed people of their belongings in a bid to survive.

Namibia: Newspaper Report Leads to Release of Street Children

Kakunawe Shinana, The Namibian, Windhoek, 26 February 2008

[accessed 25 December 2016]

Fourteen of 16 street children picked up by the City Police in Windhoek last week have been released into the custody of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare's After-school Care Centre.  The other two were released into the care of their parents, who were traced at Rehoboth and Okahandja

She called on the public to contact the Ministry whenever they saw street children so that their parents could be traced and reminded of their parental responsibilities.  This would also give the Ministry a chance to investigate the home circumstances of these children, she said.  The Minister pointed out that it was a criminal offence for parents to neglect, ill treat or abandon their children in terms of the Children's Act of 1960.  She said, however, that many children ran away from their homes because of poverty, while others were abandoned because their parents or guardians were unfit to give them the proper care.

Namibia: Success Story of Liza's Journey of Caring

Surihe Gaomas, New Era, Windhoek, 26 July 2007

[accessed 25 December 2016]

"When my mom passed away two years ago, I noticed some street children crowding at the funeral. They would in fact move from one funeral to the next, looking for food. You look at each child closely, the ragged clothes and the dirtiness of the skin," said Hilger.  "You see in their eyes that something is wrong - they are sad, and it really touches me a lot," she said.  Soon after the burial, Hilger decided to investigate into the background of these street children to know more about them.

The Protection Project - Namibia [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSES- The Labor Code of Namibia prohibits employing any child younger than 14 years of age. In addition, the code provides that no child under the age of 15 may be employed in an industrial undertaking or mine, no child under the age of 16 may work underground, and no child under the age of 18 may work at night. The constitution protects children under the age of 16 from hazardous work that would conflict with their education.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Street Children - Namibia",, [accessed <date>]