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Prevention and combating of trafficking in Persons National Policy Framework

To give effect to South Africa’s obligation to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Person, especially women and children, the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2013 (Act No.7 of 2013) was introduced.

The Act deals comprehensively with human trafficking in all its various forms and in particular provides for the protection of and assistance to victims of trafficking. Persons engaged with trafficking will be liable on conviction to a severe fine or imprisonment, including imprisonment for life, or such imprisonment without the option of a fine or both.

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad.


bannerPrevention and combating of trafficking in Persons National Policy Framework,
April 2019 NEW
The NPF seeks to ensure all government departments and other engaged stakeholders from civil society are collectively guided in the implementation of anti-trafficking responses and of their statutory responsibilities. In particular, the NPF intends to support the implementation of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons, 2013 (Act No. 7 of 2013), hereinafter referred to as the Act, which aims to ensure that the criminal justice system is effective in prosecuting the criminals and protects the victims of trafficking in persons, promoting a cooperative and aligned response among all government departments, as well as with civil society organisations engaged in assisting and supporting trafficked persons. As a strategic planning tool, the national policy framework is also key to secure political and financial support and to ensure rational use of resources and effective responses.

John Jefferey on Trafficking National Policy Framework
24 Apr 2019 | SABC Digital News

Trafficking in Person

Any person who delivers, recruits transports, transfers, harbor’s, sells, exchanges, leases or receives another person within or across the borders of South Africa by means of:

  • Threat or harm
  • Threat or use of force or other forms of coercion
  • The abuse of vulnerability
  • Fraud
  • Deception
  • Abduction/kidnapping/abuse of power within or across the borders of the Republic for the purpose of the exploitation of that child/person in any form or manner

is guilty of human trafficking.

The main objectives of the Act are to:

  • Give effect to the Republics obligation concerning the trafficking in persons in terms of international agreement.
  • Provide for the prosecution of person who commit offences related to this Act
  • Provide for the prevention/protection and assistance to victims of trafficking.

Using services of victims of trafficking:

Any person who intentionally benefits, financially or otherwise from the services of victim of trafficking or uses or enables another person to use the services of a victim of trafficking and knows reasonably or suspected that such person is a victim of trafficking is guilty of the offence.

Tampering with documents

Any person who has  in his/her possession or internationally destroy, confiscates or tampers with any actual or purported identification document, passport or other travel documents of victims of trafficking in facilitating or promoting trafficking in persons is also guilty of an offence.


Persons engaged with trafficking will be liable on conviction to a severe fine or imprisonment, including imprisonment for life, or such imprisonment without the option of a fine or both. 

Extra-territorial jurisdiction

  • Extra-territorial jurisdiction is an important feature of the Act and South African courts will have jurisdiction in respect of acts committed outside South Africa if those acts would have been an offence under the Act had they been committed in South Africa.
  • The Act also enables the state to prosecute traffickers and confiscate their assets.

More on the Act

  • The Act further provides for social service professionals to play a role in the reporting, identification and assessment of a person who is a victim of trafficking.  Once this is confirmed the victim is entitled to be placed under an approved programme; child victims are to be placed in temporary safe care.
  • Such programmes will offer accommodation, counselling and rehabilitation services as well as aim to reintegrate the victim back into their families and communities
  • The programme also offers education and skills development training for adults.

Child victims of trafficking will fall under all the protective measures of the Children’s Act, whilst organisations that provide services to adult victims must be accredited and must comply with certain norms and standards and must offer specific programmes to victims of trafficking.

Definition of Child Trafficking Elements

  • A child – a person under the age of 18.
  • Is recruited, transported, harboured and received by force or not, by a third person or group of persons.
  • Movement may be either within the country or across borders.
  • Exploitation in the form of production of pornography or pornographic performances, use in armed conflicts, child labour and or procurement of child prostitution and forced marriages.

Aims of Human Trafficking (Women)
Women are trafficked for a number of immoral reasons including but not limited to: Forced commercial sex, Commission of crimes including fraud, Forced marriages & Slavery to domestic work.

Aims of Trafficking (Boys)
Young man or boys are being trafficked to be used amongst others: Forced hard labour, Begging for cash on street corners, Forced into mechanic work & Coercion into committing crimes.

Children likely at risk of being trafficked
Every child is at risk of becoming a victim of being trafficked but the following are mostly exposed to human trafficking:

  • Girls between the ages of 12 to 14
  • Boys between the ages of 11 – 13
  • Children who ran away from home
  • Homeless and thrown away children
  • Youth that ran away from rehabilitation centres
  • Youth that warms up to strangers
  • Youth willing to meet strangers from social networks e.g Whatsapp, skype, facebook or mxit

Hints for youth to identify a trafficker
A trafficker could be any person within the community or foreign national and they have the following methods to recruits and victims;

  • A promise of employment in a different city or foreign country
  • A sudden love affair with a stranger with a promise of lavish lifestyle
  • False advertisement for jobs in foreign countries especially as waitresses, maids or dancers in clubs
  • Offer of travel vouchers
  • A loan to entice victims to move overseas
  • A loan to purchase business merchandise from overseas i.e clothing and accessories

Methods used by traffickers in exercising control over their victims
The following is some of the tactics used by traffickers to control their victims once trafficked:

  • Force, rape, beatings, drugs usage during the early stages
  • Victims are coerced with threats of serious harm to families back home
  • Victims are made to believe that they will be arrested if they do not perform tasks
  • Traffickers may also take victims travelling papers to isolate or make travelling difficult

Hints on identifying traffickers by health care
More often the crime of trafficking in persons involves amongst others domestic violence, the following but not limited to, may be identified on a victim:

  • Poor physical and mental health condition
  • Language barriers if victim is international
  • Fear of health care workers
  • Fear to reveal the in depth situation when confronted by health care workers
  • The trafficking live in partner may offer to translate there – by giving distorted information

Few simple rules, you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim:

  • Be wary of strangers
  • Do not accept lifts from strangers
  • Do not arrange to physically meet ‘friends’ that you have met on mxit
  • Do not be tempted by a promise of jobs in host cities during the fifa 2010 world cup
  • Do not be tempted by promises of tickets for any of the world cup games
  • Always let an adult know your whereabouts during the school vacation
  • Do not walk, cycle, run, or jog alone – always be in a group