In South Africa child trafficking has become a central concern for both the state and non-state agencies.
However, despite the increasing global attention on human trafficking, there is very little clarity on the actual nature and scope of the phenomenon.
In her 2020 report Child Trafficking in South Africa: Exploring Myths and Realities, Dr Rebecca Walker, a research associate at the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University, wrote that other crimes such as smuggling – which refers to migrants who pay to be transported into countries illegally – are often conflated with human trafficking, making estimates even less reliable
Here are 10 facts about Human Trafficking in South Africa:
1. South Africa is considered a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.
2. South Africa is considered to be on the “Tier 2 Watchlist” for human trafficking. Tier 2 represents countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
3. Most victims of human trafficking are exploited for forced labour.
4. Girls are more likely to be trafficked for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
5. Boys are more likely to be trafficked for street vending, food service and agricultural purposes.
6. The Western Cape has a high prevalence of human trafficking.
7. Forced labour is South Africa’s most prevalent form of trafficking, with more than 70 percent of victims being exploited in this way.
8. Shelters for victims is also one of the biggest obstacles, with only one providing exclusive care for trafficking victims.
9. Ukuthwala (child marriage) also account for some trafficking victims.
10. According to the Global Slavery Index report released in 2018, there were an estimated 155 000 people living in modern slavery in South Africa.
By Rudolf Nkgadima