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Namibia Trafficking in Persons Action Plan – stakeholder engagement

3- 4 November, Windhoek, Namibia

UNODC, under the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project supported the validation of the Government of Namibia Trafficking in Persons National Action Plan (2022-2026). The Action Plan development was spearheaded by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. It is however developed and implemented by a multisectoral team represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the  Ministry of Social Services, Prosecutors, Namibia Police (NAMPOL), Civil Society led by the Salvation Army.

The consultative and validation meeting was a 2 day event, on 3 and 4 November in Windhoek, Namibia and it brought together 30 key players from the above institutions as well as from the United Nation Agencies (IOM) and Development Community (US Embassy). This high turnout and very active engagement demonstrated the importance the Government accords issues of Trafficking in Persons.  The National Action Plan is a four year plan that is aimed at sustaining the government efforts implemented in the just concluded first NAP. It now moves from creation of laws to establishment of systems and operationalization of the various aspects in TIP including victim protection.

The first day was spent going through the document, chapter by chapter with the participants providing  significant input. At the end of the day, the Implementation Matrix was overhauled and a new one proposed for development, that was more focused and concise. The UNODC team worked on this in the evening/night and presented a new draft to a smaller committee that met on Wednesday 3 November 2021, which was approved with minimal comments. The Ministry of Gender and UNODC will now work towards finalizing the document, and digital commentary, before a final document is presented to the Minister, late December 2021.

Namibia is rated as a tier 1 country in terms of addressing and combating TIP, which is a laudable achievement and it is hoped that this National Action Plan will significantly contribute to sustaining this momentum and good achievements over the years.



Southern African Migration Management Project hosts Media Training for the SADC and IOC Region.

Participants at the virtual Media Training

The SAMM project hosted a media training course “Promoting a positive image of migrants and recognizing their contribution to development in the SADC region from the 20th to 29th October 2021. The main objective of this course was to improve the capacity of media professionals on reporting fairly and effectively on the key migration thematic areas covered by the SAMM project.

Through this course, the SAMM project raised the media awareness concerning the promotion of a positive image of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons, and IDPs and the identification of their contribution to development in the SADC region. A well-informed media can positively influence policymaking to improve the situation of mixed movement population and their families, as well as reap the benefits of migration, asylum seekers and refugees for the countries at large. The e-learning course “Promoting a positive image of migrants and recognizing their contribution to development in the SADC region was a collaborative initiative of the ILO and its Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) partners (the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

Worldwide, migrants are still too often victims of racist, discriminatory and xenophobic attacks. The media often promotes a toxic public narrative on migration, and reinforces stigmatisation through the inclusion of xenophobic and discriminatory messages. Indeed, the press often portrays migrants as criminals, illegals and as “stealing jobs from national workers”. Furthermore, migrants are frequently scapegoats during economic recessions. It is essential to change negative perceptions and attitudes through evidence or fact-based journalism and broadcasting that contribute to eliminate public misconceptions. Indeed, a fair and balanced reportage that recognizes migrants’ contribution to the economic growth and development of countries of origin, transit and destination is urgently needed.

35 Journalists, editors, communication officers and media practitioners from different media houses and agencies across the SADC region, attended the training. Robust discussions were held on issues of migration in the region and how to report on the complexities of this topic.

Participants share their perceptions on the common narrative around migrants


Protecting victims of Trafficking in Persons in South Africa “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way”

Pretoria, South Africa – 10 September 2021 – UNODC, under the framework of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) Project, and in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, belatedly marked the 2021 World Day against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) on the 10 September 2021, by donating Personal Protective Equipment to various shelters for Victims of Trafficking in Persons and Gender-Based Violence in South Africa, in order to ensure that Victims of Trafficking in Persons and staff in the respective shelters are protected from the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 World Day Against TIP, Global theme “Victims’ Voices, Lead the Way” puts victims of human trafficking at the Centre of the campaign and highlights the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking.

A majority of shelters for victims of trafficking in persons in South Africa and across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are not sufficiently equipped to adequately provide protection and support to both victims of trafficking in persons and gender-based violence victims, due to lack of infrastructure and scarcity of resources. This challenge has been compounded by the the COVID-19.  However, civil society organizations have continued to play a key role in ensuring that the shelters remain operational, and their doors stay open.

The handover ceremony was attended by Government representatives led by the Deputy Minister of Justice Hon. John Jeffery and a lead prosecutor on TIP from the National Prosecuting Agency,  representatives of six shelters[i] and representative of the European Union delegation in South Africa led by the Head of Development Cooperation, Mr. Bernard Rey.

Mr. Bernard Rey lauded the work that civil society organizations are undertaking in caring of persons who have been through traumatic experiences. He noted that  it was important that the victims of these heinous crimes of Trafficking in Persons do not lose their voices and thanked the organizations for assisting the victims regain their voices.

“Many practitioners argue we should move away from highlight that these people are not passive and disempowered but are strong and empowered. In the same vein, I want to end by adapting the theme of this year’s World Day Against Human Trafficking and say “Survivors Voices lead the way”

Mr. Bernard Rey

Head of Development Cooperation

EU Delegation to South Africa.

The Honorable Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. John Jeffery noted the gravity of Trafficking in persons but also highlighted the work that the Government of South African is undertaking, to curb the crime and specifically, under his docket. Hon. Jaffery’s observed that from the data received and further evidenced from victims rescued, females are most likely to be trafficked. Females contribute to 90% and above of suspected and confirmed victims. He spoke of also compounded challenges, where ` In many sex trafficking cases, the victims have substance abuse disorders, very often as a result of the actions of the trafficker, and thanked civil society for playing a key role in protecting vicitms in South Africa.

Ms. Zhuldyz Akisheva, UNODC Regional Representative, reaffirmed UNODCs support and commitment to working with both government and civil society in addressing Trafficking in Persons and in protecting victims.

The Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM, 2020-2023) project is a model of a ONE-UN approach collaborative effort between 4 UN development and humanitarian agencies: the ILO, the IOM, UNODC and UNHCR, under the European Union Regional Indicative Programme (11th EDF RIP). The overall objective of the SAMM programme is to improve migration management in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region.












[i]  The participants represented persons from the following shelters:  Mercy House, Mali Martin Polokegong Centre, Grace Help Centre, AMCARE Hannan House, Re-Bafenyi Shelter, Carrol Shaw


Why is joining the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness as important today as ever in Southern Africa?

Stateless woman’s desperate battle for citizenship: Stateless mother of four, Mpho hides her tears after describing her daily ordeals in her shack in Brits, North West Province, South Africa. © UNHCR/ Hélène Caux 2020

Stateless woman’s desperate battle for citizenship: Stateless mother of four, Mpho hides her tears after describing her daily ordeals in her shack in Brits, North West Province, South Africa. © UNHCR/ Hélène Caux 2020


Mpho, 33, has lived in South Africa her entire life, yet she is stateless; she has no nationality. When she was found abandoned as a young child, the identity of her parents and her place of birth were unknown. In South Africa, as in most countries in the region, these are key pieces of information to prove one’s ties to a country, and exercise the right to citizenship.  South Africa’s nationality laws do not ensure the right of foundlings to a nationality, leaving them stateless.

Like Mpho, Aisha, 50, has also been stateless her whole life. She is Karana, a minority group which has been present in the country for more than a century and traces its origins to pre-partitioned India, a country that no longer exists.  Madagascar’s laws restrict access to nationality based on ethnicity, and don’t recognize the Karana, leaving Aisha and her parents stateless.

For Mpho and Aisha, statelessness did not end with them: Mpho had three children, Aisha had four, and their children have inherited their status.   Tragically, families endure generations of statelessness despite having deep-rooted and longstanding ties to their communities and countries.

Aisha, Mpho and their families are among thousands of people in Southern Africa who fall through the cracks of nationality legislation that makes no provisions for them.  Gaps in the laws of the countries they were born in, or where their parents hold citizenship are numerous, and often these nationality laws are informed by gender and ethnic discrimination, as well as lack of safeguards against statelessness at birth.

Sixty years ago, the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness was adopted to offer concrete solutions to put an end to the injustice of statelessness.  As we commemorate its 60th anniversary, it is as relevant today as before and remains an essential piece of human rights law to end statelessness globally.

The 1961 Convention is about preventing statelessness from occurring in the first place, and thereby reducing it over time. It sets out clear commitments by states to grant nationality to children so that they do not become stateless at birth. It also prevents statelessness later in the course of life, for example by strictly framing the conditions where nationality can be withdrawn.

Applied to the situations of these real-life stories, the Convention provides for the right of foundlings to acquire the nationality of the country where they are found, a provision that would have saved Mpho from statelessness.  The 1961 Convention also prescribes against discrimination in the transmission or acquisition of nationality, a safeguard that would have protected Aisha. The convention provides that every child should acquire the nationality of the country where they are born, if they would otherwise be stateless. This safeguard would have guaranteed Aisha’s and Mpho’s children the right to a nationality.

States are the sole authorities responsible for granting nationality, and to that effect their parliaments adopt laws governing the attribution of nationality. Therefore, responsibility for resolving situations of statelessness also rests with states. If their nationality rules are fair and inclusive, statelessness will not occur.

Statelessness is a man-made and cruel injustice, “a form of punishment more primitive than torture” according to late US Supreme Court Judge Warren Earl. Aisha and Mpho, like other stateless people, officially belong nowhere, having no legal identity.  Therefore, they are deprived of countless rights and opportunities that many of us may take for granted.  Statelessness often means a life without education, without medical care or legal employment, or the ability to register the birth of a child; in short, a life without rights. It also means a life of exclusion, without prospects or hope.

We do not know precisely how many people are stateless in the Southern Africa region because data is poor, and most states have not assessed their stateless populations. However, a World Bank report estimates that more than 130-million people are without any identity and nationality documentation in Southern Africa, a telling indicator of the extent to which statelessness is a topical phenomenon in the region.

Ending statelessness is within reach, where governments are willing. If states accede to the Convention and incorporate its safeguards into national laws and practices, the necessary legal safeguards against statelessness will be in place, and over time, will help to end statelessness on their territory.

Ending statelessness is not only about ensuring the rights of stateless people. I believe it is in the self-interest of countries to ensure that everyone living in their country is a citizen, or can acquire a nationality from the country they originated from. Ending statelessness contributes to economic and social development, by allowing the full participation of formerly stateless people in all aspects of society and civic life.  It also strengthens the broader respect for the rule of law in all societies. By acceding to the statelessness conventions, states demonstrate their commitment to human rights and respect for the dignity of all individuals.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the UN General Assembly to address statelessness worldwide. As part of this mandate, we advocate for accession to the statelessness conventions, and advise states on the implementation thereof.  In 2014, we launched the #Ibelong campaign that calls upon states to take concrete actions to end statelessness by 2024, including by acceding to the 1961 Convention. In that regard, there have been positive developments in Southern Africa.

Today only four states out of 16 in the region have acceded to the 1961 Convention: Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique. But many states have committed to acceding to the convention: Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the meantime, a few countries, in particular Madagascar, have started reforming their nationality laws with a view to removing discrimination and including safeguards against statelessness.

Statelessness is inhuman and I believe it is time to end this injustice. It is time for States to accede to and implement the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. It is time for Aisha, Mpho and thousands of other stateless people to finally be able to say “I belong”.


— Valentin Tapsoba is UNHCR Director for Southern Africa


IOM Convenes a Regional Capacity Building Training On Migration Data Management under SAMM Project

Pretoria, 30 August 2021 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), with funding from the Southern African Migration Management (SAMM) project, funded by the European Union, convenes Government officials from the 16 countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), for a capacity building workshop on migration data management in Southern Africa.

The overall objective of this Regional Training Workshop is to contribute to enhancing the capacities of statistical officials and relevant stakeholders with migration-related functions and responsibilities to improve migration data management systems in accordance with international and regional instruments within the broader context of the Objective 1 of the GCM and SDGs and the specific context of the Southern Africa Migration Management (SAMM) project. The EU-funded SAMM project recognizes the need to strengthen regional and national capacities for data collection, production of reliable migration statistics, and coordinated information-sharing mechanisms in order to improve the availability of and harmonization of migration data in the region.

Despite the high volume of population mobility and migrant stocks in the Southern African region, data on international migration is often unavailable, or fragmented and non-comparable between countries. This hampers the capacity of relevant stakeholders to design and develop evidence-based migration policies which affects the accuracy of national and regional reports on policy and development progress.

The need for timely and reliable data to inform migration policies and programming within SADC was underscored by the recommendations from the 2017 and 2019 Ministerial meetings held in the margins of the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) held in Eswatini and Namibia respectively, which among others, encouraged the member states with the support of IOM in coordination with relevant partners to build capacities to collect and analyse migration-related data to develop policies based on evidence and data to improve migration governance at the national and regional level.

Similarly, efforts to prioritize the improvement of migration data are corroborated at the global level by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which states the need to “Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies” as its first objective.

The outcome of the training is to Increase awareness of the importance of international migration data policies and share good practices; strengthen the capacity of key staff of the national institutions managing migration on the comprehension of migration data collection and analysis; enhance the understanding of the uses and limitations of migration data for policy purposes;  assess the outcomes of the regional exercise to tabulate migration-related data collected from national censuses; and Facilitate coordination across NSOs in the region in finding a better working relation to ensure comparability of data, uniformity of methodology and indicators for a robust, reliable and valid regional level assessment of migration data and statistics to inform policy.

The SAMM Project supports the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region and the Member States to improve the management of migration. In the area of data collection and management, the Project seeks to strengthen the technical and financial capacity of the National Statistical Officials and other relevant stakeholders to capture, store and manage harmonized cross-border data on mixed migration flows, support the development of a mechanism and standardized procedures to collect and process migration-relevant data as well as the analysis and dissemination of such data.




PRETORIA, 8 July 2021 – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Southern Africa last March 2020, trends of irregular migration toward South Africa increased, due to the various socio-economic effects of the pandemic on many households.

The International Organization for Migration, through support from various partners such as the European Union-funded Southern African Migration Management (SAMM) project, Irish Government, The United Kingdom’s Foreign, and the Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), helped 397 stranded Malawian’s migrants to return home from Zimbabwe.

Between March and July 2021, IOM assisted 273 Malawian migrants with voluntary return assistance to their country of origin, in incremented groups, many of whom were stranded at the Beitbridge border point of entry, while attempting to reach South Africa. “The increasing number of stranded Malawian migrants in Zimbabwe en-route to South Africa depicts the current dynamics of human mobility in the context of the pandemic and a sustainable approach needs to be put in place to address the mobility patterns and the associated protection issues” says, Mario Lito Malanca, Chief of Mission, IOM Zimbabwe.

“Life was becoming challenging financially in Malawi due to lack of income, so I wanted to follow my husband who is already in South Africa, but I was stopped by the police in Zimbabwe and remained under their custody for three months, before IOM helped me come back to Malawi”, said 25-year-old Asiyatu Jafali, from Mwanyama village, who is one of the women of the recent assisted groups.

IOM Zimbabwe provides the returnees awaiting travel with a range of services which include pre-travel health assessments, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID-19 tests, meal allowances, baby essentials packages where there are infants, sanitary wear and transportation. On arrival in Malawi, IOM Malawi provides returnees with psychosocial support through counselling; transport to their final destinations, PPE and in some cases, vulnerability assessments are done depending on availability of funds for reintegration assistance.

“I tried leaving my village of Kadzati in Malawi, to go to South Africa to find a job and support my family better, but since I had no proper documents, I was stopped in Zimbabwe and kept for 60 days”, said 27-year-old Mofati, one of the men assisted from the same latest group of returnees. “Now that IOM helped me return home, I would rather stay and look into opening my own business selling livestock”, he continued.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably affected many people livelihood all across the world, leading to an increasing number of persons opting to migrate in search of better opportunities, and Southern Africa is no exception”, said Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa. “IOM remains committed to helping Governments in alleviating

the many burdens faced by vulnerable migrants, through various humanitarian services, including assisted voluntary returns, thanks to the support from our donors”.

For more information, please contact Abibo Ngandu, IOM Regional Communication Officer, Fadzai Nyamande-Pangeti, IOM Zimbabwe Communication Officer, and Jacqueline Mpeni, IOM Malawi Communication Officer

Southern African Development Community :: SADC adopts new Labour Migration Action Plan to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional integration

11 Jan, 2021

SADC adopts new Labour Migration Action Plan to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional integration

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has adopted a new Labour Migration Action Plan (2020-2025) as part of efforts to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional development and integration.

The Action Plan, adopted through the Employment and Labour Sector in the Region, is in line with Article 19 of the SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour, which seeks to protect and safeguard the rights and welfare of migrant workers, to give them better opportunities to contribute to countries of origin and destination.

In her report to the 40th SADC Summit hosted by Mozambique in virtual format last August, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said the Action Plan is an integral part of measures aimed at the progressive elimination of obstacles to the free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the people of the Region generally, in line with Article 5 of the SADC Treaty.

As the 2017 estimates by the African Union show, SADC is host to 37.5% of Africa’s 14.2 million international migrant workers totaling an estimated 5.4 million. At the same time, the Southern African region is home to the largest stock of international migrant workers of up to 4.2 million, ahead of both East Africa and West Africa, with intra-SADC migration accounting for about 45%.

Given this background, it is envisaged that implementation of the adopted policy instrument, through a multi-sectoral approach, will contribute to the protection of labour migrants’ rights and give them an opportunity to make a greater developmental impact on both countries of origin and destination.

The Employment and Labour Sector also adopted the SADC Guidelines on Portability of Social Security Benefits to ensure that workers moving within the SADC region maintain social security rights and benefits acquired under the jurisdiction of different Member States, including pension benefits and occupational injury and diseases benefits.

In her report to the 40th SADC Summit, H.E Dr Tax also said as part of implementation of the 2016 SADC Youth Employment Promotion Policy Framework, the SADC Secretariat and the International Labour Organisation jointly conducted a study of the youth labour markets in the region.

The study showed that SADC has a very youthful labour force by international comparison, and that it will continue to remain so, for the coming decades. In addition, the study showed that the average youth unemployment rate (15-24 years) in 2017 was approximately 12 percent, higher than the 7% average for older persons, thus revealing that youth are more likely to be without a job compared to their older counterparts largely due to lack of work experience.

Despite the relatively low overall unemployment rates for some Member States, there is a high prevalence of informality in employment in SADC, which is typically associated with lack of legal and social protection as well as with lower wages when compared with formal employment.

Adding to these concerns is the high proportion of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), in excess of 25 percent across several SADC countries and even higher for females. The NEETs represent a special category of youth whose potential for integration in the labour markets is particularly low, as they are simultaneously not gaining experience or new skills.

Dr Tax said while Member States are implementing a number of youth initiatives, these do not always come at significant scale to absorb the majority of unemployed youths. In combination with the youth focused initiatives, Member States should therefore strengthen the integration of pro-employment policies in development and sectoral growth policies, with greater emphasis on demand side interventions.

As a follow up to the SADC youth labour markets analysis, the SADC Secretariat is facilitating the development of interventions to promote active and productive participation by youth in social, economic and political development processes in the region. The Secretariat is also working with the ILO towards a youth employment project to increase the proportion of young men and women in decent employment across the SADC region.

Southern African Development Community :: SADC adopts new Labour Migration Action Plan to promote skills transfer and match labour supply and demand for regional integration