Windhoek – Namibia has retained its status as a Tier 1 country in the 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for the second year in a row, for its tough action on punishing acts of trafficking.
The Southern African country remains the continental leader in battling the scourge.
According to a report by the US State Department released this week, Namibia is again the only country in Africa to achieve a Tier 1 ranking, joining 28 countries globally.
The TIP report is a comprehensive resource on governmental anti-trafficking efforts.
“Namibia has made an impressive commitment to fighting the terrible crime of human trafficking,” said US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Ms Jessica Long. “The Namibian government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period, despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on its anti-trafficking capacity.”
However, this does not mean Tier 1 countries do not have human trafficking problems.
“Tier 1 countries, including the United States, still have much room for improvement. All governments should strive to continually improve their efforts to fight this heinous crime and fully protect the victims,” Ms Long said.
The report said human traffickers in Namibia were mainly operating within the dark realms of sex work and forced labour, targeting Namibians, Angolans, Kenyans, Zambians and Zimbabweans in the country.
The Namibian government identified 19 trafficking victims, compared with 30 victims in the prior year’s report.
The TIP report also identified key efforts made by the Namibian government including, training social workers from the country’s 14 regions on the National Referral Mechanism and standard operating procedures on victim identification; providing assistance to and referring 16 victims to NGO shelters; and allocating more funding to NGOs and shelters supporting trafficking victims. The government allocated N$6 million to NGOs and shelters supporting trafficking victims in 2020, a significant increase from allocating N$325,000 the previous year.
The report also recognised the Namibia Governments efforts in initiating 10 investigations and continuing 16 others, compared with nine investigations initiated and 29 continued the prior year.