8,000 ‘slaves’ in Namibia … Among the lowest prevalence in Africa

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Ellanie Smit 

Windhoek
‑ Namibia ranks 45th among 51 African countries, when it comes to the prevalence of modern slavery on the continent.
Namibia is among the countries with the lowest prevalence of modern slavery in Africa, with an estimated 8,000 victims in the country. 
According to the new Africa Region Report: Global Slavery Index 2018, Namibia ranks 45th among 51 African countries, when it comes to the prevalence of modern slavery on the continent. 
It is estimated that 3.3 per 1,000 people fall victim to modern-day slavery in the country, says the report. 
According to the report Eritrea has the highest prevalence rate of modern slavery in Africa at 93 per 1,000 people, with 451,000 victims. However, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had the highest absolute number of modern slaves, 1.3 million and 1.04 million, respectively. 
Mauritius had the lowest prevalence rate at 1 per 1,000 people, as well as the lowest number of 1,000 victims. 
Several of Namibia’s neighbouring countries also have a fairly low prevalence.
Botswana was ranked 44th among the African countries with 8,000 victims and South Africa 47th with 155,000 victims. 
While South Africa has a higher amount of victims than Namibia, it is estimated that there are only 2.8 per 1,000 people that fall victim to modern slavery in the neighbouring country. 
Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe (27th) the prevalence rate is estimated at 6.7 per 1,000 people, with 105,000 victims, and Zambia (33th) has a prevalence rate of 5.7 per 1,000 people and 92,000 victims. 
In 2017, the Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organisation for Migration produced the Global Estimates for Modern Slavery report, which estimated that 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery on any given day in 2016. 
Of this number, an estimated 9.2 million men, women and children were living in Africa. The global region has the highest rate of prevalence, with 7.6 people living in modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the region.
When considering the forms of modern slavery, the rate of forced marriage (4.8 victims per 1, 000 people in the region) was higher than the rate of forced labour (2.8 victims per 1,000 people).
According to the report over half of all victims of forced labour exploitation (54%) were held in debt bondage, with similar proportions of men and women in the region trapped through debt. 
An estimated 400,000 people in the region were victims of forced sexual exploitation, accounting for 8% of all victims of forced sexual exploitation and commercial sexual exploitation of children worldwide.
The report further looked at African countries’ vulnerability to modern slavery by assessing governance issues, a lack of basic needs, inequality, disenfranchised groups and the effects of conflict. 
Namibia’s overall vulnerability to modern slavery was on average 48.1%, while it scored worst for the inequality category, at 55.9% For governance issues Namibia was scored 44.6%, lack of basic needs 38.4%, disenfranchised groups 38.8% and for effects of conflict 10.4%. 
Meanwhile, Namibia’s governance response rate to modern slavery remained unchanged from 2016 to 2018 at CCC. This is fairly low as the rate is measured from AAA to D. Namibia scored 34.1% for supporting survivors, 27.8% for criminal justice, 18.8% for coordination, and 54.8% for addressing risk. 
According to the report the regional figures, while important, should be interpreted cautiously, given the gaps and limitations of data in certain countries. For example, it is not possible to survey in countries that are experiencing profound conflict, such as Libya, South Sudan and parts of Nigeria. The lack of data from countries experiencing conflict means that modern slavery estimates in these countries are likely to understate the problem.
“While the Africa region has the lowest average regional government response score, with a CC rating, there have been significant improvements in specific countries and a trend to strengthen modern slavery legislation,” the report said.  
There are also multiple regional bodies in Africa that have been proactive in responding to modern slavery, which points to increasing opportunities to hold governments to account. Despite this, limited resources and ongoing conflicts continue to hinder more comprehensive responses to modern slavery in the Africa region. – Namibian Sun

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