South Africa Takes Measures to Fight Against Human Trafficking
Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:25 PM

In light of the 2010 FIFA World Cup that is to take place this summer in South Africa, the international community has pushed for the host country to strengthen its anti-trafficking measures. Although South Africa is one of the leading source, transit, and destination countries for human trafficking, data on human trafficking remains limited. As a response to pressure from the United States as well as non-governmental human rights organizations, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has recently commissioned the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to conduct a study on the extent of the problem.

South Africa is a signatory to the Palermo Protocol, which requires states to investigate and prosecute human trafficking, as well as to train police officers and offer protection and support services to victims. From 2005 until 2008, the U.S. State Department reported that South Africa failed to comply with the minimum international standards for anti-trafficking, including data collection requirements. The State Department noted, however, that South Africa made significant improvements in 2009 and demonstrated a commitment to maker further progress in 2010.

The recommendations proposed by the HSRC study include a major awareness and educational campaign that would include training for members of the judicial system to improve their understanding of human trafficking, improved patrolling of the borders, and changed visa policy for at-risk groups. These recommendations are expected to be included in the recently initiated anti-trafficking bill.

The new legislation, titled Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, was presented to the South African Parliament by the Department of Justice on March 18, 2010. Although South Africa currently has laws that address components of the trafficking offense, the new bill establishes a specific law and a comprehensive legal framework that not only punishes traffickers but also provides measures to prevent trafficking and to protect and assist trafficking victims.

Compiled from: Hanibal Goitom, “South Africa: Anti-Human Trafficking Bill Proposed,” Library of Congress (29 March 2010); Jabulani Sikhakhane, “South Africa: Ready to Tackle Human Trafficking?”, Inter Press Service News Agency (24 March 2010); “Trafficking Bill Welcomed,” IOL News (25 March 2010).