Justice Home The Constitution Flag

Criminal Law

Home> Criminal Law> Trafficking in Persons

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.

Legislation and Documents

bannerPrevention and combating of trafficking in Persons National Policy Framework, April 2019

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 persons is a vile crime that feeds on inequalities, instability and conflict. Human traffickers profit from peoples' hopes and despair. They prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights. Children and young people, migrants and refugees are especially susceptible. Women and girls are targeted again and again. We see brutal sexual exploitation, including involuntary prostitution, forced marriage and sexual slavery. We see the appalling trade in human organs. Human trafficking takes many forms and knows no borders. Human traffickers too often operate with impunity, with their crimes receiving not nearly enough attention. This must change. […] Let us come together around the key issues of prevention, protection and prosecution to build a future where this crime cannot exist.”

Message of United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2018

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:

is guilty of human trafficking.

The main objectives of the Act are to:

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

More on the Act


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

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:

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;

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:

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:

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