The government increased efforts to protect trafficking victims. The government identified 21 trafficking victims, including five women, 10 girls, and six boys and referred 14 victims to an NGO shelter, which was partially government-funded. The government reunified five Namibian child victims with their parents and repatriated two Zambian nationals. This was compared to 21 victims identified and five referred in 2017. Seven victims were Namibian and 14 were foreign nationals from Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola. Thirteen victims were exploited in forced labor, including domestic servitude and cattle herding, seven were sex trafficking victims, and one victim was exploited in both sex trafficking and forced labor. The Cabinet approved a NRM and SOPs, drafted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with an international organization. Separate from the NRM and SOPs, the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and immigration officials used their own referral procedures. In practice, labor inspectors and immigration officials contacted NamPol when they identified an instance of potential trafficking; NamPol referred victims of all crimes to temporary shelter and medical assistance. The government partnered with a local NGO to provide protective services to Namibian and foreign victims of trafficking; the NGO provided safe accommodation and the government provided psycho-social support, legal assistance, medical care, and ensured victims had proper documentation. Child victims were provided with access to education. The Gender-based Violence Protection Units facilities offered initial psycho-social, legal, and medical support to crime victims, in cooperation with the police, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW), the Ministry of Health, and NGOs. Government shelters for victims of gender-based violence, including trafficking, were non-operational during the reporting period. Adult victims had the ability to seek employment and work while receiving assistance, though it is unknown how many victims did so during the reporting period. The NGO shelter that received victims during the reporting period was equipped to receive families, teen boys, and men. The government provided 26,000 Namibian dollars ($1,810) per month to the NGO that received victims. The government also provided 24,000 Namibian dollars ($1,670) to an NGO shelter in the northeastern part of the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration continued to provide immigration officials a printed manual to guide identification of trafficking victims.
The government did not have a policy to encourage trafficking victims’ participation in investigations; the law provides for witness protection or other accommodations for vulnerable witnesses that in principle would be available for trafficking victims. However, 14 victims voluntarily assisted law enforcement during the reporting period. The government requested information and offered repatriation assistance in a case involving five Namibian child trafficking victims exploited in the United Kingdom. While the government had no formal policy to provide residence permits to foreign victims of trafficking, during previous reporting periods, government officials made ad-hoc arrangements for victims to remain in Namibia.