Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - South Africa

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - South Africa, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 30 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

South Africa (Tier 2 Watch List)

South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. An unknown but substantial number of South African women and girls are trafficked internally, and occasionally to other countries, for sexual exploitation. Women from other African countries, particularly Mozambique, are trafficked to South Africa and, at times, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. There are anecdotal reports of men and boys trafficked from neighboring countries for forced agricultural work. East Asians, mainly Thai and Chinese women trafficked for sexual exploitation, transit South Africa on their way to South America.

The Government of South Africa does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. South Africa has been placed on Tier 2 Watch List due to a lack of evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons over the last year. To further its anti-trafficking efforts, the government should pass a comprehensive law that prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, launch a specific anti-trafficking public awareness campaign, and prosecute to conviction an increased number of traffickers.


The government carried out a number of concrete law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. South Africa remains without a specific anti-trafficking law or explicit penalties for traffickers, though the South African Law Reform Commission made initial progress in its process of drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking bill. Though 12 additional Sexual Offenses Courts were established in the country during the year, it is unknown whether such courts heard any trafficking-related cases. The government prosecuted at least two traffickers, though not exclusively on trafficking charges; no statistics were provided on the number of cases investigated or prosecuted during the year. In 2004, a South African man received two 20-year sentences for brothel-keeping and kidnapping 17 girls for the purpose of prostitution, and the prosecution of a nightclub owner who paid to import Romanian women continued. In November 2004, police arrested 79 Nigerian nationals and liberated 15 children being exploited in prostitution by an alleged Nigerian criminal organization. Police also freed 18 Thai and Chinese women suspected to be trafficking victims from commercial sexual exploitation in March 2005. Approximately 200 new border officials and police officers received training on recognizing trafficking cases during the reporting period. Between April and October 2004, at least 28 immigration officials were charged with trafficking-related fraud and malfeasance.


The government took steps to protect trafficking victims during the year. Police and social workers referred approximately 60 trafficking victims to private shelters for victims of abuse. In 2004, the government provided funding to shelters for victims of abuse, including approximately $450,000 for government-run Thuthuzela shelters and over $1.3 million for other centers. As part of this funding, it provided shelters a flat rate of $52 per victim each week to offset the costs of housing, medical care, and counseling. In addition, the government contributed an estimated $25,000 to IOM's Southern African Counter Trafficking Assistance Program in 2004. The government implemented new standards for the treatment of crime victims and provided six training seminars on their use in 2004; there is no evidence that these standards were applied to victims of trafficking.


The government's trafficking prevention measures were modest during the reporting period. In March 2004, a national plan of action on human trafficking was adopted. The strategy was shared with stakeholders, but not widely disseminated. Trafficking issues were included in a December 2004 campaign against violence toward women and children that targeted prosecutors, investigators, and police. Government officials also participated in televised roundtables and other awareness raising programs on trafficking in persons. The government assisted in organizing an NGO-hosted conference on sex trafficking and the police were actively involved in a conference on forced child labor.

Search Refworld