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Life imprisonment for human trafficking perpetrators- Dienda

by Kelvin Chiringa

Member of Parliament, Elma Dienda, called for stricter amendments to the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill yesterday in parliament, a motion which was received with adulation. 

She has proposed for the inclusion in the bill of a clause that makes human trafficking offenders liable to life imprisonment in the case that the trafficking results in the death or grievous bodily harm of the victim.

“Trafficking in persons has become a well-documented issue although it remains in some ways invisible to our eyes,” she said.

She added, “The trauma suffered as a result of human trafficking can affect the victims for their whole life,” she said, “Poverty creates an environment within which trafficking of persons can easily occur.”

She has also proposed that assistance be granted to victims of trafficking as well as tracing their families.

Dienda also wants the addition of a clause that allows for reporting, identification and referral of victims of trafficking and that a police officer must assist the victim to obtain medical treatment where necessary.

She further suggest that victims have to be informed of their rights and any basic support which may be available to assist them. 

This also should involve the interviewing of parties and witnesses, if any, to the offense including children as well as recording the complaint in detail, and providing a copy of the written report to the victim.

She has also pointed out that the availability of funds for trafficking in persons is always a challenge and has proposed for the establishment of a human trafficking fund to help with the financing of anti-trafficking law enforcement. 

Dienda says this fund can consist of, inter alia, voluntary contributions from any persons, grants from any source in and out of Namibia approved by the finance ministry and any money that parliament may approve for the purpose of the fund.

Dienda said that money for this fund could be used for the basic material support of victims, tracing their families, skills training of victims or any other matter connected with their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. 

“The fund can be vested in the ministry of finance and can be managed and administered by the ministry of gender and child welfare,” said Dienda.