05 Feb 2018 17:20pm
SWAKOPMUND, 05 FEB (NAMPA) - The Namibian Government and its supporting partners continue to equip officials with skills which will enable them to combat human trafficking.
Training for 35 prosecutors, social workers, immigration officials, police officers, and labour officials started in Swakopmund on Monday.
The seven-day workshop follows the first training session held in August 2015.
Similar training took place in the Zambezi and Oshana regions in 2016 and 2017.
Speaking at the official opening of the workshop, Deputy Prosecutor-General Advocate Innocentia Nyoni said the aim is to equip officials with the skills and knowledge to investigate human trafficking cases, assist human trafficking victims, prosecute and allow courts to achieve convictions.
Human trafficking is the new form of slavery because people, especially women and children, are forced into labour and sexual exploitation. It robs people of their human rights, said Nyoni.
Nyoni said more legal cases and convictions are needed as there are currently not many, especially in Namibia.
Marthinus Pretorius, a South African citizen who allegedly committed 19 human trafficking and rape offences in Namibia in 2012 and fled to South Africa, was extradited and his case is currently with the High Court.
His co-accused, Johanna Lukas who allegedly sold the girls to Pretorius on four occasions between April and May 2012, was sentenced to 13 years direct imprisonment on counts of human trafficking and rape.
It is said that there are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. According to the United States Department 600 000 to 800 000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, and of these, 80 per cent are female and half are children, Nyoni said.
The officer in charge of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Namibia, Sacha Nlabu said he is convinced the training will lead to increased identification of potential victims of trafficking and increased protection of such victims and in the long run, many prosecuted cases.
Nlabu said IOM assisted 40 000 victims of human trafficking between 2006 and 2016 globally.
He said in 2016, 43 per cent of those assisted were women and 57 per cent were men.
The 2016 statistics also show that 81 per cent of those registered suffered labour exploitation, while 11 per cent suffered sexual exploitation.
Government is hosting the workshops with the support of IOM and the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime.