Trafficking in persons (TIP) or human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is a serious violation of human rights and is about exploitation.

"Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Victims of human trafficking can be any race, age and gender. Regardless of one's background, anyone is susceptible to local or international trafficking. It often results in people being removed from their place of safety to an unknown destination with extremely little hope of being found again. When people are moved, the reasons that are offered are usually to do with the promises of employment, a bright new future earning a better income, the promise of travel and freedom to explore the world and that of free education or similar offers that sometimes seem, too good to be true. Any industry can be used as a front for human trafficking.

Human smuggling and human trafficking are different crimes. According to the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea, Art. 3(a), “Smuggling of migrants shall mean the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident.” In smuggling cases, the migrant consents to pay someone (the smuggler), who will organise and/or facilitate his/her illegal entry into a State of which that person is not a national or resident.

Other definitions

Violent or non-violent force that makes a person believe that if they do not provide a service or labour, they or someone close to them, will suffer serious harm.

Consists of some deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with intent to deprive another of his right, or in some manner to do him an injury. In the context of human trafficking, fraud often involves false promises of jobs or other opportunities.

A person below the age of 18 years, also referred to as a child.

A person forced to work because their services have been promised as a surety for a debt. The services can be promised by the person doing the work or by another person. This definition applies where the debt is one which is obviously too high, where the value of the services on reasonable assessment is not used to pay the debt or alleged debt, or where the length and nature of service are not defined or restricted.

Refers to any situation in which the person involved has no real and acceptable alternative but to submit to exploitation. This is to acknowledge that many VoTs are under the influence of the person(s) to whom they are vulnerable; for example, a person holding a position of official authority or a parent or a spouse. A vulnerable person can be any person who is in Namibia irregularly or without proper documents; a pregnant person, a person with a disability, a person addicted to a drug or other substance, or a child.

The name that describes a person who procures prostitutes for people.

In the context of TIP, sexual exploitation takes many forms, including prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, sex tourism, or forced marriage. Victims can be men, women or children.