Namibia secures first conviction for trafficking in persons
In August 2015, the Windhoek High Court handed down the country's first conviction under the national Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which made trafficking in persons a criminal offence in its own right.
While Trafficking in Persons occurs all over the world with millions of victims being exploited by criminals, conviction rates remain low. According to the 2014 United Nations Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, one in three human trafficking victims is a child, most victims are female, and traffickers operate with wide impunity. In Africa, two of three victims of human trafficking are children. Against this global development, the first trial on Trafficking in Persons in Namibia received special acknowledgement.
The offender in this case was found guilty on charges of trafficking in persons and rape, including in recruiting and grooming of two minor girls for sexual exploitation in exchange for money. As explained during the trial by an expert, whose presence was facilitated by UNODC, traffickers exploit the vulnerability and immaturity of children through a grooming process, which entails creating a seemingly loving and caring relationship to establish trust and loyalty, while slowly normalizing exploitative behaviour. The offender was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
UNODC supports the national efforts in Namibia in addressing the issue of trafficking in persons in line with the requirements of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. UNODC assists the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states with drafting legislation, policy and strategy development, as well as with capacity building of criminal justice practitioners in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of human trafficking cases.