WINDHOEK, Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Chairperson of Namibia’s National Council, the upper chamber of the country’s Parliament, has proposed that fines should not be an option for those found guilty of human trafficking and that they should instead receive lengthy prison sentences.
Mensah-Williams made the proposal during a continuation of the debate on the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill of 2017 during an urgent session of the National Council here Tuesday. She said fines would not curb human trafficking as offenders made billions of dollars and could easily pay any fine imposed.
Mensah-Williams said human trafficking traumatised victims and should not be taken lightly. “We should get rid of penalties, we are taking this thing too lightly. Where is our conscience, are human lives so worthless”? she asked.
Mensah-Williams added that human trafficking existed in Namibia. “We should stop trying to defend our country as if it will look bad if we acknowledge it. Our country will in fact look bad if we do not acknowledge it and make laws to protect people,” she said.
Parliamentarian Rosa Kavara pointed out that women and children in the rural areas were the most vulnerable to trafficking.
She proposed that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare embark on community outreach programmes to educate people, saying that many people do not know when they are committing the offence.
The Bill, which was tabled in the National Council last month, proposes a fine not exceeding one million namibian dollars (about 78,400 US dollars) or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 years or both for a person convicted of trafficking.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK