Namibia has become the only African country to make it to the world’s top-ranking list, ‘Tier 1’, in the fight against human trafficking. This has brought the number of countries worldwide, recognised as Tier 1, to 34 in 2020. Countries at this level have fully met the international standards for the elimination of human trafficking.
The 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, put out every year by the US Department of State, ranks countries in terms of the work they have done to eliminate trafficking. Although reaching Tier 1 does not mean that trafficking is no longer a problem in a particular country, it does indicate that the country concerned has spent considerable energy and resources to deal with it. With the release of the report, US ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, paid tribute to Namibia’s work on the issue. In particular, she mentioned the bringing into force of Namibia’s Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2018.
There was still more work to be done, she said, but the country should be proud of its efforts. These had led to increased public awareness, bringing traffickers to justice and providing essential services to victims of trafficking. ‘I want to personally congratulate the government of Namibia, NGO and civil society organisations and international organisations for their collaboration and dedication to combatting human trafficking in Namibia.’
Among the ‘key achievements’ listed in the report was the number of prosecutions, convictions and sentences in relation to trafficking, as well as training of ‘front-line responders’.
Johnson listed the following key achievements by Namibia that led to its being placed at Tier 1 level:
- Finalised implementing regulations for the Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2018.
- Significantly increased the number of prosecutions, convicted and sentenced one trafficker, and trained front-line responders.
- Identified more victims, referred a higher percentage of identified victims to care, and partially funded two NGO shelters that provided protective services for victims.
- Facilitated the voluntary participation of more victims with law enforcement investigations and provided victim witnesses with protective services.
- Held quarterly meetings of the national anti-trafficking coordination body.
- Launched a nationwide awareness campaign in collaboration with an international organisation, increased training of front-line responders to prevent trafficking, and continued to utilise the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional data collection tool to gather and organise clear trafficking data.
Want to see the ranking of your own country? - Download the full report