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Tsireledzani. OVERVIEW OF KEY RESEARCH FINDINGS Programme of Assistance to the South African Government to Prevent, React to Human Trafficking; Provision of Services for Research on Deepened Knowledge and Understanding of Human Trafficking and Provide Assistance to Victims of the Crime

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Programme of Assistance to the South African Government to Prevent, React to Human Trafficking; Provision of Services for Research on Deepened Knowledge and Understanding of Human Trafficking and Provide Assistance to Victims of the Crime


Commonwealth writer s prize
Commonwealth Writer’s Prize

Judge Dan Ojwang

“One of the remarkable aspects of the entries was the high number that concentrated on human trafficking and migration. The most striking of such novels were Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi (Nigeria), On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe (Nigeria)and Refuge by Andrew Brown(South Africa). Reading these entries, the panel of judges was struck by the way slavery, in new guises, has come to speak powerfully of the plight of a generation of Africans who have come of age at a time of destitution, political repression and out-migration – a time when home is all too often quite unhomely”


Kopanong Hotel & Conference Centre

23-24 March 2010

Report by Carol Allais

Result 1
Result 1

Programme of Assistance to the South African Government


Scope of project
Scope of Project

This report provides the first comprehensive assessment of human trafficking in South Africa

The project was undertaken from December 2008 to December 2009 (with a 3-month no-cost extension to March 2010).

The fieldwork was undertaken between September and March 2010

Focus of study
Focus of Study

South Africa the main focus




also included

Research objectives
Research Objectives

  • Identify trafficking trends trafficking trends in order to develop appropriate responses;

  • Identify national legislative measures, policy frameworks and women’s and children’s rights instruments;

  • Analyse counter-trafficking responses regarding human trafficking in the SADC region and other countries with comparative features;

  • Identify the profile of the victims and characteristics and motives of the agents in human trafficking

  • Identify the purposes for human trafficking and the key driving factors;

  • Identify socio-economic aspects of the demand and cultural values and practices influencing human trafficking;

  • Identify the interrelation between human trafficking and migration relation issues in the context of globalization;

  • Identify the linkage between organised crime networks and corruption, and human trafficking;

  • Identify indicators for a national Trafficking Information Management System ;

  • Make recommendations on the outcome of the above results.

Research team
Research Team

Human trafficking is a cross-cutting social problem

Multidisciplinary research team:





Organised crime




Quantitative and qualitative data: surveys, interviews, documentary and open source materials.

Key informants included: law enforcement officials, immigration and customs officials, embassy officials, social service representatives, government representatives, NGOs, international organisations, victims of trafficking and other relevant parties thought to have information on trafficking in persons.

Innovative methodologies
“Innovative Methodologies”

  • To research what is largely a hidden crime, a component of the data-gathering was intelligence-led.

Research challenges
Research Challenges

Scope of project

First meetings with researchers were held in April 2009

  • Workshops to arrive at appropriate methodologies

  • Appointment of fieldworkers

  • Training on definition of trafficking by IOM

  • Data collection instruments designed

  • Approval by HSRC Ethics Committee

Difficulties in accessing key government informants

  • Lack of contact lists

  • Protocol required to access government officials

Data bases

No basic national-level data on victims of trafficking or traffickers available

(IOM only source of any statistics)

Sa responses to human trafficking
SA Responses to Human Trafficking

  • Signing and ratifying (on 14 December 2000 and 20 February 2004 respectively) the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

  • The Prevention and Combating of Persons Bill is awaiting ratification.

  • Currently the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No 32 of 2007) deals with certain elements of the Protocol definition.

Tsiredeldzani programme
Tsiredeldzani Programme

  • Established by the NPA - Answers the call for a collaborative, multi-agency, long-term co-ordinated strategic action

  • A multi-sectoral National Task Team has been established

  • National Action Plan is being developed.

  • Human Trafficking Desk has been established and

  • Multi-stakeholder Provincial Task Teams are being rolled out in the provinces.

    (The first Provincial Task Team established in KwaZulu Natal has been cited as an example of best practice.)

Victim centred approach
Victim-centred Approach

  • Manifest in the Victim’s Charter

  • Thuthuzela Care Centres (one-stop, integrated response to violent sexual acts against women and children)

Best practices
Best Practices

  • KZN Provincial Task Team

  • Thuthuzela Care Centres


  • Human Trafficking Awareness Week (2006)

    (Global best practice, US TIP Report 2007)

  • SAs Witness Protection Programme

    (UNODC Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons 2008)

Key findings
Key findings

  • Unclear scale of the problem (quantitative data)

    - Criminal and hidden nature of the crime

    - Lack of official systems for recording data

    Anecdotal evidence and limited quantitative data gathered indicates that human trafficking is taking place.

    Conflicting positions – numbers established before resource allocations vs processes, procedures, mechanisms established in order to determine numbers

2. Trafficking streams

  • Long distance flows: To SA from outside of Africa

    Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, India, China, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine

    Almost exclusively women – sexual exploitation

    Trafficked through airports – mainly OR Tambo

  • Trafficking from within the continent

    Short distance flows: Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho

    Longer distance flows: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia,Tanzania, Uganda.

    Women, girls, boys – variety of exploitative purposes

    Trafficked through land borders

  • Domestic trafficking

    From rural areas to cities

    Women, girls, boys – prostitution, domestic servitude, forced labour, begging, drug trafficking, other criminal activities

  • SA as transit country

    Victims smuggled through Lesotho and Swaziland borders to SA then on to other foreign destinations

  • South Africans trafficked abroad

    Ireland, Israel, Macau, Netherlands, Switzerland, Zimbabwe

    (Documented cases – small numbers)

  • Victims of trafficking

    Women constitute the larges group in all streams

    (Mirrors findings of global UNODC.GIFT [2009] study)

    Victims of intercontinental trafficking – largely for sexual exploitation

    Victims trafficked from Africa and domestically – a variety of forms of exploitation

    Young girls feature prominently in all trafficking streams

    Demand for under age girls – lower risk in terms of HIV, ‘sexual desirability of youth’

    Men and boys trafficked from Lesotho for illegal mining in Kimberly and Welkom

    Young boys used to smuggle drugs

4. Forms of exploitation



Forced marriage

Domestic servitude

Forced labour (exploitation in agricultural, security, hospitality, retail sectors)


Drug smuggling

Body parts (muti)

Ritual sacrifice (religious rituals, satanic cults)

5. Traffickers

- International organised crime syndicates from Eastern Europe, South East Asia, East Africa

- Well organised local networks – taxi drivers, truck drivers

- White males

- Female facilitators

- Family members

- Parents

- Enablers - Cables, Malaichas, Gumagumas

6. Links to other criminal activities

- Strong link between trafficking for prostitution and drugs – women addicted, sell drugs to clients

7. Enabling factors

- The collusion of border and other immigration officials a key factor facilitating factor

8. Vulnerabilities and cultural practices

- Primary factors poverty and economic equality

- Traditional norms - family patronage; forced marriages; virginity testing

9. Link between trafficking and HIV/AIDS

- Victims seldom know or disclose their status

- Difficult to establish when victim was infected

- Double stigma of a positive HIV status and status of being trafficked

10. Victim assistance

  • Shelter managers over-report the numbers of victims they claim to be assisting

  • Shelters report a lack of specific skills to deal with trafficking cases-need for social workers, psychologists

  • Identified need for integrated multi-sectoral services

  • To provide for individual needs

  • Need for more shelters and safe houses

  • Need for specialised shelters, longer-term homes, halfway or reintegration shelters


  • Limited understanding of trafficking – both lay and professional quarters – confused with smuggling, conflated with prostitution, sexual abuse, labour abuse

  • Denial of the problem

  • Discomfort with the nature of the problem, fear of speaking openly – major challenges for empirical research

  • Need for sustained TRAFFICKINGawareness raising after 2010

  • Need for more (in-depth) training

  • Need for ongoing research – in-depth research, intelligence-led research

Recommendations TRAFFICKING

  • No uniform definition of trafficking - lack of understanding on the part of both lay and professional personnel.(Trafficking is generally associated with prostitution or confused with the smuggling of persons.)

  • Recommendation: Ensure that the South African government formalises and adopts a national definition of trafficking which is accepted and practised across all sectors.


  • Lack of nation-level data

    The lack of official statistics is a major obstacle to the accurate assessment of the magnitude of trafficking in South Africa or any country in the region, particularly the SADC countries.

    Recommendation: Implement a Trafficking Information Management System to enable the collection of systematic, national-level data that will address the problem in terms of prevention, protection and prosecution.

  • Coordinated cross-sector response TRAFFICKING


    1. Complete the National Action Plan and indicate responsibilities for its implementation.

    2. Complete the establishment of the Provincial Task Teams in all provinces to ensure the coordination of anti-trafficking activities at provincial and local levels.

    3. Appoint a National Coordinator on Human Trafficking as a priority to establish and facilitate the implementation of National procedures and related activities. The functions of the National Coordinator shall be determined by the National Action Plan.


4. NRMs and TRMs and/or standard operating procedures (victim identification and assistance) to be put developed

(identified as a major obstacle in the identification of victims and their referral to required assistance)

  • Extensive and accelerated skills training for different stakeholders and frontline personnel

  • Accelerated media and information campaigns that reach rural and urban communities, ports of entry, transit sites

  • Initiatives to reduce vulnerability among most at risk

  • Mainstreaming human trafficking into school curricula

Thank you stakeholders and frontline personnel