21 victims of a suspected human trafficking ring now back in the country: Official
Twenty one out of the 31 victims of a suspected human trafficking ring in the Middle East, were safely repatriated to Namibia as of 30 June, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said this week.
The 21 victims safely returned to Namibia from Oman through Hosea Kutako International Airport, while the other 10 Namibians are still in Oman, she said.
“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,” she said.
The Namibian Government was made 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.
In Namibia, a criminal case was lodged and is still under investigation. If evidence so dictates, an arrest will be made. “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.
She said the government has made arrangements for the victims to received by Nampol and referred to social workers at the health ministry for psycho-social support and trauma counselling before their statements are taken.