U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - South Africa

South Africa (Tier 2 Watch List)

South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. South African women and girls are trafficked internally and occasionally by organized crime syndicates to European and Asian countries for sexual exploitation. Women from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa and, less frequently, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation. Men and boys are trafficked from neighboring countries for forced agricultural labor. Thai, Chinese, and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded sexual exploitation.

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 is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking over the last year. The government did not provide comprehensive data on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted, or on resulting convictions or sentences during the year. The government should demonstrate continued progress toward the passage of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and develop national procedures for victim protection, including the screening of undocumented immigrants for signs of victimization before deportation. As it does for other types of crimes, the government should also regularly compile national statistics on the number of trafficking cases prosecuted and victims assisted.


The Government of South Africa's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts did not improve significantly over the last year, but officials showed greater awareness of the issue. However, the government did not supply full data on anti-trafficking investigations, prosecutions, or convictions during the reporting period. Anecdotal information indicates there were at least two convictions. The lack of specific anti-trafficking legislation continued to hamper South African law enforcement efforts; however, relevant bills moved through the legislative process during the reporting period. In 2005, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces passed the Children's Bill which specifically prohibits child trafficking; the bill must be signed by the President to take effect. The South African Law Reform Commission's "Discussion Paper" on trafficking in persons, which includes draft comprehensive legislation, was released for public comment in early 2006. The National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Committee on Justice debated the Sexual Offenses Bill, which prohibits some forms of sex trafficking, and referred the draft to the Department of Justice for review. In the absence of specific legislation, law enforcement officials continued to investigate and prosecute traffickers under existing laws. In early 2006, the government successfully convicted a South African woman of kidnapping and operating a brothel for the purpose of exploiting three girls in prostitution. The prosecution of 79 Nigerian nationals for prostituting children is pending while the victims undergo drug rehabilitation. The trial of alleged trafficker Amien Andrew concluded with convictions on several charges, including operating a brothel of under-aged children for profit, resulting in a 51-year prison sentence. Police in Johannesburg arrested a school bus driver supplying minors for prostitution. He was charged with abduction, but the case was dropped after the victims recanted their original statements. Nineteen Iraqi trafficking victims were placed in the witness protection program to await the capture of their Jordanian trafficker. In March 2006, police removed four Thai women from forced prostitution and turned them over to IOM for protection. In May 2005, NPA signed a memorandum of understanding with IOM to share information about trafficking crimes. During the year, SAPS, NPA, and the Department of Home Affairs enrolled more than 800 staff in anti-trafficking training programs that enabled some law enforcement officials to identify and properly question trafficking victims, particularly at the international airport.


Government protections for trafficking victims during the reporting period remained inadequate. Although the government does not have programs designed to specifically assist only trafficking victims, it provides an array of social services through facilities that are accessible to such victims. Police officers referred an unknown number of victims to local shelters during the reporting period. The Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs' (SOCA) eight "Thuthuzela" reception centers assist victims of sexual violence with medical and psychological care, as well as legal and social assistance; it is unknown whether trafficking victims utilized these centers during the reporting period. Immigration officials do not always screen undocumented foreigners for signs of victimization before deportation. For example, in December 2005, South African authorities deported 940 Mozambican illegal immigrants without first screening them to identify potential trafficking victims.


Government efforts to raise public awareness increased during the period. The government enlisted a local NGO to incorporate information on the trafficking of women and children into the government's annual "Violence against Women and Children Campaign." A youth-oriented talk show on government-owned television twice aired a program on human trafficking. SOCA coordinated the work of the Human Trafficking Inter-Sectoral Task Team that adopted a preliminary National Plan of Action in March 2005; the plan remains unimplemented without a mandate from the Department of Justice to act. In late 2005, NPA advertised a position for a national coordinator to lead a national anti-trafficking office. In June, the NPA and the EU delegation to South Africa held a national workshop to validate the European Union's anti-trafficking project proposal. In early 2006, SOCA's "Sexual Offenses and Community Affairs Bulletin" highlighted provisions of the new child trafficking legislation.


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