Cablegate: 2010 Annual Trafficking Report On Namibia
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0156/01 0500954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 190952Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0212
INFO SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 WINDHOEK 000156
FOR G/TIP STEPHANIE KRONENBURG, AF/RSA LEARNED DEES, AF/S PHAEDRA GWYN, G LAURA PENA, INL, DRL AND PRM
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF MCA ELAB KTIP KCRM SMIG KWMN KFRD WA
SUBJECT: 2010 Annual Trafficking Report on Namibia
REF: A: STATE 2094; B: 09 WINDHOEK 52; C: WINDHOEK 114
1. (SBU) Per Ref A, Post submits input for the 2010 Trafficking in
Persons Report for Namibia.
Namibia's TIP Situation
2. (SBU) Response to 25 A: The Government of Namibia (GRN) is in
the early stages of data collection on TIP. During the reporting
period, Namibia's Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare
(MGECW) created a national database on gender-based violence which
will include statistics of trafficking and child labor victims.
The Woman and Child Protection Unit (WACPU) of the Namibian Police
Force investigates possible trafficking cases, but does not keep
statistics on trafficking. The Ministry of Labor and Social
Welfare tracks cases of the worst forms of child labor. During the
reporting period, USAID funded a baseline study to assess the scope
and scale of Namibia's trafficking in persons problem. This study
was carried out by independent consultants in close coordination
with the MGECW. MGECW intends to carry out a more comprehensive
study on trafficking in 2011. All of the aforementioned sources
3. (SBU) Response to 25 B: Namibia is a country of origin, transit
and destination for internationally trafficked women and children,
and possibly for men as well. Namibians are trafficked within the
country as well, especially from rural, communal areas to urban
centers and commercial farms. Namibian children as well as
children from Angola or Zambia have been found engaging in the
worst forms of child labor in the agriculture and livestock,
domestic service, charcoal production and commercial sex industry
sectors in Namibia. During the reporting period, the Ministry of
Labor and Social Welfare identified 17 cases of children working in
the charcoal industry, 88 cases of children performing hazardous
child labor, and 57 cases of children performing forced child labor
(ref C). Moreover, in September 2009, a former Caprivi Chief
Regional Officer was arrested in Zambia for attempting to traffic
four Zambian children to Namibia. A 2009 assessment on Namibia's
TIP situation, funded by USAID and performed by independent
consultants with assistance from the MGECW, found three confirmed
trafficking cases and numerous instances of suspected trafficking.
In one case, a Zambian national trafficked Zambian boys into
Namibia for farm work exploitation. In another, a Namibian mother
trafficked her 15-year-old daughter to Walvis Bay for sexual
exploitation. In the third, Namibian girls from Kavango and
possibly the Caprivi were trafficked to wine farms in the south to
work as babysitters and domestic workers. In addition, anecdotal
evidence suggests that some Namibian children have been trafficked
to Angola, where they are sexually exploited. There is also
anecdotal evidence of Namibian women being trafficked to South
Africa and South African women trafficked to Namibia, in both
instances to work in the commercial sex sector.
4. (SBU) Response to 25 C: According to government officials,
victims of TIP may be promised wages that they never receive. They
may be forced to work long hours, carrying out hazardous tasks.
Victims may be beaten or raped by their traffickers or third
parties. Children may be denied opportunities to attend school.
5. (SBU) Response to 25 D: Namibia's high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
has increased the number of orphans and vulnerable children, who
are at risk of being exploited. Furthermore, grinding poverty,
unemployment, and a lack of skills and education makes it easier
for traffickers to lure victims with the promise of a better life.
Women and children are the most vulnerable groups.
6. (SBU) Response to 25 E: Traffickers are adults, often males,
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working alone or in small groups. There is no firm evidence of any
trafficking or labor syndicates currently operating in the country.
In some cases, Namibian parents may unwittingly sell their children
into trafficking conditions, including child prostitution. There
are also reports of adults trafficking or exploiting children who
are distantly related to them. There have been reports of Namibian
children being trafficked to South Africa, typically by truck
drivers, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Small business
owners and farmers may also traffic women or children. Some
victims may be "self-presented." There is no evidence of
employment or travel agencies fronting traffickers or crime groups.
SETTING THE SCENE FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-TIP EFFORTS
7. (SBU) Response to 26 A: The GRN acknowledges that human
trafficking is a problem in the country. Some officials have a
better understanding of the situation than others. For instance,
some officials at the MGECW point to the three cases identified in
the USAID-funded TIP baseline assessment as evidence that the
problem in Namibia is very small. Those officials fail to focus on
the "suspected cases" of TIP, and they are more concerned with
other forms of gender-based violence or violence against children.
It should be noted that in June, the first lady spoke out against
child labor during a ceremony for World Refugee Day. Similarly, in
August, President Pohamba called on the cabinet to instruct its
ministries to collaborate to investigate practices of child labor
in eight of Namibia's 13 regions.
8. (SBU) Response to 26 B: Namibia does not have a single
institution or agency that is dedicated to the enforcement of child
trafficking activities. However, the MGECW, together with the
Namibian Police's Woman and Child Protection Unit (WACPU) are
responsible for the enforcement of laws on trafficking, and thus
child trafficking. In 2009, the MGECW became the lead ministry on
all government-sponsored anti-trafficking activities. It is also
responsible for protecting victims of trafficking, including
children. WACPU is responsible for conducting investigations into
trafficking cases affecting women or children. The Ministry of
Justice would prosecute any trafficking cases; however there have
been no prosecutions or convictions to date. At the regional and
local level, social workers from the MGECW are expected to handle
all issues related to human trafficking. The Ministry of Labor and
Social Welfare remains responsible for fighting labor trafficking,
including the worst forms of child labor.
9. (SBU) Response to 26 C: The GRN employs 49 social workers
throughout the country; they are expected to handle all matters
related to the welfare of women and children. At the national
office, two senior social workers coordinate all work pertaining to
child trafficking. The Namibian Police's Crime Investigation
Division employs 35 investigators. WACPU employs 89 officers in 15
units around the country. The number of social workers,
investigators, and police officers is not adequate to handle cases
of trafficking in addition to other types of cases. Furthermore,
there is a lack of trained staff, insufficient financial resources,
and a lack of sophisticated technology. For example, the police
have no electronic surveillance equipment and do not utilize
software to create databases on child trafficking. The GRN spent
approximately Namibian Dollar (ND) 65,000 (USD 10,000) on the
efforts to combat trafficking in 2009. All other funding, which
amounted to ND 2 million (UD 308,000) came from the government's
development partners, including the USG, the Southern African
Development Community, and UNICEF. These financial resources were
inadequate. Corruption is a problem in Namibia, but it has not been
linked to cases involving trafficking.
10. (SBU) Response to 26 D: The GRN does not keep adequate
statistics on matters related to trafficking. During the reporting
period, the MGECW established a database to track cases of TIP and
gender-based violence. No TIP cases have been reported since its
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establishment. It must be noted that the issue of data collection
on TIP is a chicken-and-egg scenario. For example, the police kept
no statistics on TIP cases or trafficking-related cases during the
reporting period, because there were no TIP cases reported. The
MGECW did publish and publicly release the aforementioned TIP
baseline assessment. In addition, the Ministry of Labor collected
and published data on exploitative child labor in 2009. Post can
provide G/TIP with a copy of the Child Labor Inspection
(Investigation) Report that the GRN undertook in 2009. Post can
also provide a copy of the latest Child Activity Survey, which was
conducted in 2005, but only finalized in 2009 as well as a copy of
Namibia's 2008 National Plan to eliminate Child Labor.
11. (SBU) Response to 26 E: During the year, the Ministry of Home
Affairs in partnership with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) opened
offices at hospitals throughout the country to provide birth
certificates for newborns. Officials from the Ministry of Home
Affairs and Immigration also deployed mobile units to towns and
villages countrywide to facilitate issuance of birth certificates
and identity documents. The project focused primarily on orphans
and vulnerable children; however, the mobile units also targeted
San children, and NGOs reported a decrease in San complaints of
being unable to obtain proper identification documents.
12. (SBU) Response to 26 F: Data collection is a challenge for the
GRN both in terms of will and resources. For example, USAID
funding was needed to produce the 2009 baseline assessment on TIP.
Nonetheless, the MGECW has said it intends to undertake a more
extensive assessment in 2011. More resources are needed before
in-depth research can be effectively conducted: the police lack
computers, database software, surveillance equipment and training;
and the MGECW complains of a lack of vehicles and personnel.
Similarly, the Ministry of Home Affairs computerized the offices of
its major points of entry during the reporting period, but those
systems were not electronically linked. Targeted training provided
to all GRN officials concerned with trafficking would help in
working around these gaps.
Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
13. (SBU) Response to 27 A and B: The Prevention of Organized
Crime Act (POCA) of 2004 was implemented in May 2009. It
explicitly criminalizes TIP as well as human smuggling. Under
POCA, those who participate in or aid and abet TIP face fines of up
to ND 1,000,000 (USD 133,000) or jail terms of up to 50 years.
Additionally, those who participate in or aid and abet migrant
smuggling face fines of up to ND 500,000 (USD 67,000) or
imprisonment of up to 25 years. The law does not differentiate
between trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for
non-sexual purposes. The Combating Rape Act prescribes up to 15
years imprisonment for first-time offenders and up to 45 years for
repeat offenders, which is less than the 50 years prescribed by
POCA. The GRN is currently drafting a new Child Care and
Protection bill, which is expected to address child trafficking
among other crimes.
14. (SBU) Response to 27 C: Namibia's labor law prohibits forced
labor and those convicted of forced labor are liable for fines of
up to ND 20,000 (USD 2,700) or imprisonment of up to four years or
both. In addition, Namibia has progressive labor laws, including
laws prohibiting the worst forms of child labor. Section 3 of the
2007 Labor Act maintains the minimum working age at 14 years. It
also states that children between the ages of 14-18 may not be
employed where: work takes place between the hours of 20:00 to
07:00; work is done underground or in a mine; construction or
demolition takes place; goods are manufactured; electricity is
generated, transformed or distributed; machinery is installed or
dismantled; and any activities take place that may jeopardize a
child's health, safety or physical, moral, metal, spiritual or
social development. Persons found guilty of employing children
face a maximum fine of ND 20,000 (USD 2,700) and/or up to four
years imprisonment. The Labor Act of 2007 also stipulates work
place hours, meal intervals, health and safety regulations, annual
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leave, and conditions surrounding night, holiday and weekend work
hours. During the reporting period, the GRN documented no cases of
adult forced labor.
15. (SBU) Response to 27 D: Please see paragraph 13.
16. (SBU) Response to 27 E: The GRN did not prosecute any cases
against human trafficking offenders during the reporting period.
In the aforementioned child labor cases that were investigated, in
all instances, offenders were issued compliance orders in
accordance with the 2007 Labor Act, but no arrests were made. In
addition, the Ministry of Labor removed seventeen children found
working on farms in Kavango in hazardous conditions and returned
them to their parents. The Namibian national who was arrested in
Zambia for allegedly trafficking four Zambian children was
acquitted, according to the Namibian police.
17. (SBU) Response to 27 F: The WACPU continues to provide
specialized training on gender-based violence for police officials
and social workers from the Ministry of Health and Social Services
and MGECW, but offered no training in 2009 specifically on
trafficking. A handful of officials from MGECW, the Ministry of
Labor, and the Ministry of Agriculture who participated in the
baseline TIP assessment were given training by the consultants
leading the research. In addition, the International Labor
Organization (ILO) Office embedded in the Ministry of Labor gave
regular workshops and talks about the worst forms of child labor.
The USG sponsored International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA)
training on combating TIP during the reporting period. Post sent
seven individuals from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the police,
the Ombudsman's office, and the Prosecutor General's office to the
18. (SBU) Response to 27 G: The GRN cooperates with neighboring
countries, such as Zambia and South Africa, to investigate human
trafficking cases and other transnational crimes. The Southern
African Development Community (SADC) is developing anti-trafficking
legislation, which it expects all countries in the region to adopt.
The TIP baseline assessment recommended that Namibia adopt a
stand-alone trafficking law, and the GRN believes that the SADC
legislation along with the Child Care and Protection bill should
satisfy this requirement. The Namibian Police work routinely with
Interpol. During the reporting period, there were no cooperative
international investigations on TIP.
19. (SBU) Response to 27 H: Namibia's Extradition Act of 1996 (Act
11 of 1996) provides for extradition to specified countries, such
as those in the SADC region and Commonwealth, as well as other
countries with which Namibia has extradition agreements. Although
TIP and smuggling are considered extraditable offences in Namibia,
there were no extraditions related to TIP, smuggling or kidnapping
during the reporting period.
20. (U) Response to 27 I and J: There was no evidence presented
during the reporting period of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking.
21. (U) Response to 27 K. Namibia does participate in several
international peacekeeping missions, but there were no reports of
soldiers who engaged in or facilitated any form of trafficking or
who exploited victims of trafficking.
22. (SBU) Response to 27 L: According to the Namibian police, the
sex tourism industry may exist in Namibia, but there were no cases
of commercial sex tourism or child sex tourism reported to the
police during the reporting period. The police were unaware of any
evidence connecting Namibian nationals with child sex tourism in
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Protection and Assistance to Victims
23. (SBU) Response to 28 A: The WACPU is the first point of
contact for women and children who are victims of violence. The
police are responsible for finding temporary shelter for victims as
well as medical assistance. The MGECW provides social workers to
work with the police, who may end up counseling victims of violence
or trafficking. The WACPU has designated examination rooms in most
major hospitals for use by victims and physicians, who have been
trained in trauma assessment. There are five shelters in Namibia,
all run by civil society organizations, which cater to the victims
of gender-based violence. Officials of the police, MGECW and
Ministry of Labor complain that these shelters are insufficient to
help all victims of gender-based violence and the worst forms of
child labor. Victims of gender-based violence offer testimony
against their perpetrators in special courts away from the glare of
the public and not in direct confrontation with the accused. There
have been no trafficking prosecutions in Namibia, but according to
the GRN, these victims and witnesses would be given the same
24. (SBU) Response to 28 B: According to the GRN, the five NGO-run
shelters have not assisted any victims of trafficking. The
government is in the process of rehabilitating 13 government-owned
buildings (one in each region) to be used as shelters for victims
of gender-based violence (women and children), trafficking and
possibly the worst forms of child labor. These shelters would most
likely not treat male victims. The GRN is considering making these
shelters "one stop shops," where victims could access medical,
legal, psychological and other assistance. The GRN subsidizes some
shelters and foster homes that assist women and children, but
figures were not available on expenditures.
25. (SBU) Response to 28 C: The MGECW provides psychological
counseling to victims of gender based violence. WACPU has
designated examination rooms in most hospitals for use by victims
and physicians who have been trained to deal with trauma victims.
The PEACE Center offers counseling to victims of trauma and has a
referral agreement with WACPU. The Legal Assistance Center, an
NGO, has assisted victims with legal services. The GRN does not
provide funding to foreign NGOs, but as noted earlier, it has
subsidized the cost of civil society-run shelters. The police have
a toll free hotline, which may receive calls with tips related to
trafficking victims. Other than the data given in 26 C, it is
difficult to say precisely what the GRN spent on trafficking
victims since none of the victims identified in 25 B were assisted
extensively by the GRN. The Ministry of Labor's Division of Labor
Inspectorate received a budget of ND 500,000 (USD 65,000) to cover
all expenses, including operational activities, child labor
investigations and forced adult labor investigations in 2009.
(Note: An NGO called the King's Daughters is led by former
commercial sex workers and provides support to those working in the
commercial sex sector. This group is advocating the full
legalization of prostitution in order to remove the stigma of
victims of sex trafficking and encourage them to come forward and
seek assistance. End note.)
26. (SBU) Response to 28 D: Since there have been no officially
documented cases of foreign trafficking victims, the GRN has not
provided any assistance to such persons. In the case of child
labor, children from nearby countries found working in Namibia are
typically repatriated to those countries and not given long-term
27. (SBU) Response to 28 E and F: There is no long-term shelter
available for victims, and the government does not offer housing
benefits to victims.
28. (SBU) Response to 28 G: Per the answer provided in 25 B, the
government, through the 2009 baseline assessment on trafficking in
persons, identified three trafficking victims and numerous
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suspected cases. The case of the mother who trafficked her teenage
daughter for sexual exploitation through forced prostitution in
Walvis Bay is still being investigated. In the case of the Zambian
boys trafficked for farm work exploitation, the boys were returned
to Zambia. The case of the girls trafficked from Kavango and
Caprivi to work as babysitters and domestic workers were referred
to the Ministry of Labor. There are other instances of trafficking
or suspected trafficking recorded in the TIP baseline assessment,
but it is important to note that the police at the national level
and the Ministry of Justice maintain they handled no TIP cases
during the reporting period, and the MGECW recognizes that only two
TIP cases (Zambian boys and the Walvis Bay forced prostitution)
fell into their ministry's responsibility. The police at the
regional level are handling the Walvis Bay case, and are likely not
recording it as a trafficking case, thus the probable disconnect
between the national police and the MGECW on the status of this
29. (SBU) Response to 28 H: Both the police and the Ministry of
Home Affair's immigration sections are linked electronically to
Interpol's database, which may be used to identify traffickers.
During the reporting period, the government established a national
database on gender based violence to record statistics of
trafficking and child labor victims. Prostitution is not
criminalized in Namibia, but making a living from it (such as
pimping or solicitation) is illegal.
30. (SBU) Response to 28 I: It is possible that trafficking victims
could be jailed or prosecuted for violating laws related to
immigration and prostitution. However, the GRN does not have any
record of this taking place during the reporting period.
31. (SBU) Response to 28 J: During the reporting period, the GRN
undertook a major media campaign aimed at preventing gender-based
violence and trafficking. The campaign included messages
encouraging victims to come forth and assist in the reporting,
investigating and prosecuting of perpetrators. No victims assisted
in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers during the
32. (SBU) Response to 28 K: Some officers working in WACPU and many
social workers from the MGECW have undergone training to identify
victims of trafficking, but the bulk of this training preceded the
reporting period. The GRN did not provide specific training on TIP
to staff working at Namibian embassies, high commissions and
consulates all over the world, but it continued to encourage
diplomats to maintain relations with NGOs that follow trafficking
issues. There were no victims of trafficking assisted by Namibia's
foreign missions during the reporting period.
33. (SBU) Response to 28 L: There were no reported instances of
repatriated Namibian TIP victims during the reporting period.
34. (SBU) Response to 28 M: UNICEF, which has an office in Namibia,
has assisted the MGECW in financing some of its gender-based
violence programs and in identifying suitable shelters for TIP and
gender-based violence victims. The ILO-supported program Towards
the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor has components
that address TIP-related issues. The Southern African Development
Community (SADC) is working on drafting legislation related to TIP.
Lifeline Childline's Namibia office runs a hotline for gender-based
violence and TIP. Churches United Against HIV and AIDS in Eastern
and Southern Africa along with a Finnish aid society will fund an
anti-TIP training course conducted by Interpol in March 2010 for
law enforcement officials. The group also plans to implement a
sensitization campaign for civil society about TIP. Both efforts
are aimed at the potential increases in trafficking caused by the
FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
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35. (SBU) Response to 29 A: The government sponsored an ND 3.1
million information campaign on trafficking and gender-based
violence during the reporting period. The "Zero Tolerance"
campaign was launched by the Prime Minister in July 2009 at the
Angolan-Namibian border, which is thought to be a possible entry
point for potential traffickers. (Note: Post's DCM spoke at the
ceremony to underscore the USG's commitment to this endeavor. End
note.) The campaign targeted potential victims and perpetrators as
well as individuals who may have witnessed trafficking. The GRN
paid for a billboard in Oshikango, two months of radio drama
broadcasts on a nationally available station, a TV commercial that
ran twice a day during prime time viewing for four months, a video
ad on an electronic billboard in Windhoek for one month, as well as
pamphlets, posters, and newspaper ads. The MGECW was able to
provide neither the number of printed materials produced nor the
number of people reached by the campaign.
36. (SBU) Response to 29 B: The GRN claims it monitors immigration
and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking, but it was not
clear if this was actually true in practice.
37. (SBU) Response to 29 C: Per 26 B, the MGECW coordinates a
working group on gender-based violence and TIP. Civil society,
government agencies and members of the diplomatic community are
invited to attend its meetings.
38. (SBU) Response to 29 D: The MGECW has hired consultants to
draft a national plan of action on gender-based violence and TIP.
It is expected to be completed in 2010.
39. (SBU) Response to 29 E: The GRN took no steps during the
reporting period to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.
40. (SBU) Response to 29 F: Please see 27 L. The GRN took no steps
during the reporting period to reduce participation in
international child sex tourism, because this issue was not
perceived to be a problem.
41. (SBU) Response to 30 A: The GRN routinely requests resources
from other countries and international organizations to address
TIP, the worst forms of child labor and gender-based violence, but
it has not engaged in any particular lobbying/partnership
activities as a part of their requests.
42. (SBU) Response to 30 B: The GRN does not provide any assistance
to other countries to address TIP.
Point of Contact
43. (U) Post point of contact on TIP is Poloff Emily Plumb. She
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (264-61) 295-8581.