Twenty-one out of the 31 victims of a suspected human-trafficking ring in the Middle East, were safely repatriated to Namibia as of June 30, a government official said Wednesday.
The 21 victims safely returned to Namibia from Oman through the Hosea Kutako International Airport, while the other 10 Namibians are still in Oman, Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said in a cabinet address.
“The remaining 10 victims have indicated their wish to return home as soon as possible, pending their family members securing the required funds to assist with travel expenses, cancellation of the debt bondage fee, linked to the visas and other expenses,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
The Namibian government were aware of suspected trafficking in persons from Namibia to Oman and the Middle East since February 2022, Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
“As of March 2022, it was reported that approximately 31 Namibian women between the ages of 27 to 40 years, fell prey to traffickers through agents both in Namibia and Oman, with promises of greener pastures,” she explained.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said upon arrival in Oman, the employers would confiscate the victim’s passports and cellphones and compel them to sign employment contracts with strict and mandatory provisions.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said to date a criminal case was registered and the case relates to the contravention of various sections of the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, Act 1 of 2018.
“The case is still under investigation and if evidence so dictates, then an arrest will be effected. This is an important issue and the police are carefully gathering and considering the evidence before the matter is placed on the court roll,” she added.
Nandi-Ndaitwah meanwhile appealed to the public to remain vigilant in cases of this nature, as trafficking of persons is on the increase not only in Namibia but worldwide. Enditem