Human rights exploitation

Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery.

In recent years a number children and women have gone missing in South Africa. A phenomenon of human trafficking has taken over the streets of South Africa. Many are recruited through deception, coercion and force to be exploited.

Human trafficking is a violation of human rights. There is a significant problem with human trafficking in South Africa and, it seems to be an increasing problem. The state is unable to combat the various magnitude of people being intra-trafficked, trafficked in and out of the country, due to no properly crafted laws in place. This is compounded by the poor South African border controls, makes the South African boarders porous resulting in a  number of undocumented and illegal immigrants into the country.


A protester at a #StopGenderViolence march in Johannesburg 2016.

Photo credit: Laura Chitima

South Africa is a destination for many victims of human trafficking and a central point for trafficking women and children. It is believed that a thousand women from Mozambique are trafficked into South Africa on a daily basis. Many South Africans are trafficked to China and Hong Kong, while others are trafficked via South Africa to East European countries. Girls and women are trafficked for sex work or sex exploitation. Thai, Chinese and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt bonded sexual exploitation. Boys and men are not excluded from this narrative as they are also trafficked. They are exploited for labour, within the mining sector, agriculture sector and for civil war involvement as soldiers.

Image References: Images sources

In South Africa many children are largely trafficked inside the country from rural areas to urban areas like Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. They’re trafficked for sexual exploitation, labour and many for muti (to obtain human body parts for medicine). Criminal rings and local street gangs organize child prostitution in many cities, usually popular tourist destinations. In the past many of these children were runaways, but the runaways cannot satisfy the demand, hence human trafficking is on the increase. Criminals and local gangs are aware of how lucrative the industry is and taking advantage of this demand.

Human trafficking is a lucrative business. It is estimated that they make seven to ten billion rand a year. It maintains a low profile, so it is difficult to get accurate numbers. South Africa is still in the process of implementing human trafficking laws. In order for South to combat this new phenomenon of human trafficking South Africa needs to ensure their laws are up to the United Nations standard. This phenomenon of human rights exploitation has many people involved and it will be trickier to find the people being trafficked if things are not implemented correctly and soon.



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