Human Trafficking


I believe that the more information I am able to share, the more I am contributing to bring awareness on this topic.
And as I mentioned in Soweto, when we see the statistics in front of us, we have a sense of how vast the problem is but when we look into the eyes of one of its victims, we do understand the dimension of loss, indignity and suffering that it imposes to our society.

Trafficking streams

A number of trafficking flows into South Africa have been identified. The four major streams are:
(1) trafficking to South Africa from outside of Africa;
(2) trafficking to South Africa from within Africa;
(3) trafficking within the national borders of South Africa; and
(4) trafficking that uses South Africa as a transit point to other countries. A fifth stream, South Africans trafficked abroad, appears to be smaller.

Victims of trafficking
Evidence available to this study confirms that women constitute the largest group of victims in all streams of trafficking.6 Victims of intercontinental trafficking are usually between the ages of 19 and 50 and are trafficked predominantly for sexual exploitation. Women also constitute the largest group of victims trafficked from within the continent and within national borders. Young girls feature prominently in all trafficking streams. The demand for under-age girls for purposes of sexual exploitation is a disturbing feature of the South African trafficking landscape.

Reasons for this demand include the perception that young girls pose less of a risk in terms of HIV and also that they represent the ‘sexual desirability of youth’. Very little is known about the trafficking of men and boys, but this research found strong evidence for the trafficking of men and boys from Lesotho for illegal mining in the Free State (mostly to Kimberly and Welkom), involving sophisticated supply chains that include middlemen called ‘cables’ because of their role in linking demand and supply. Young boys are also trafficked to smuggle drugs and for other criminal activities.

Forms of exploitation
In the course of the investigation, many forms of exploitation were identified, including trafficking for prostitution, pornography, forced marriage, domestic servitude, forced labor, begging, and criminal activity including drug trafficking.

Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth are believed to be primary destinations for underage sex tourism, involving children between 10 and 14 years of age. This pattern indicates an international component, in which people seeking sex tourism travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and vulnerable children who are available for prostitution.

Interviews with labor inspectors suggest that labor exploitation of migrants is commonplace. Migrants (frequently undocumented) from South Africa’s neighboring countries and further afield are employed in domestic services and in the agricultural, security, hospitality and retail sectors. Their vulnerability is often exploited by employers and unscrupulous labor brokers. There has also been an increase in female migration from rural to urban areas within the country in recent years. These women tend to be employed in less-skilled jobs, particularly domestic work in urban areas, with many cases of domestic servitude having been identified.

Intelligence-led investigation revealed the trafficking of body parts for muti and religious rituals. Albinos were identified as vulnerable to human traffickers for the harvesting of body parts, due to the belief that a ‘white’ skin has potent powers. Research also uncovered the trafficking of people, often children, for ritual sacrifice by satanic cults.

Souce: NPA full report, 2010


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