when human trafficking blurs borders

We like to think of ourselves as a Southern African organisation. While the idea to form an anti-trafficking organisation was hatched in Zimbabwe, the plan has always been to build a truly regional organisation-and we are alreay taking very significant steps to this regard. This is because human trafficking by its nature is largely trans-national. Efforts to combat and prevent it are therefore only going to be successful, if they are located trans-nationally. When South Africa establishes a hotline to fight trafficking during the 2010 World Cup and the other SADC countries do nothing to compliment this effort, the hotline may not be fully effective. People who may be trafficked during the football showcase will not just find themselves in South Africa, traffickers use routes that cross various national borders as confirmed by this Institute of Security Studies report. In the same regard, when Mozambique commendably promulgates anti trafficking legislation other SADC countries should follow suit if the legislation is to significantly dent human trafficking activities within the region.

the scourge of human trafficking

the scourge of human trafficking

SAAHTT therefore endeavors to annex most of its activities at the SADC level. This will ensure a coordinated and concerted effort to combat trafficking.   This means that human trafficking arguably largely involves the crossing of borders. This should not be misconstrued to mean that all human trafficking incidences involve the crossing of borders.

Indeed significant human trafficking occurs internally-within national borders. This form of trafficking may involve families in rural areas sending children to relatives in the urban areas to work as domestic workers. With very poor working conditions and in most cases negligible incomes. This constitutes human trafficking within national borders. In some instances it follows normal rural-urban migratory patterns-where a relative may suggest that a girl child in the rural areas can find employment in the urban areas. The girl child may move to the urban area only to find that the job that was referred to is commercial sex work (commercial sex slavery is more apt a term) which, incidentally, the relative in question also does.

But, as already highlighted above, trafficking in persons also plays out across national borders. There is considerable trafficking in persons that occurs within the Southern Africa and examples have been give on this blog. What really drove us to put up this post is the complexity of human trafficking. SAAHTT is a regional anti-trafficking organisation working in Southern Africa. But how does the organisation deal with cases where people from Southern Africa are trafficked to European countries? Does SAAHTT have an interest in these cases and what role can it play?There are answers to these questions but they belong to another post 🙂

Most of the human trafficking cases that have found their way into mainstream media involve Africans being trafficked to Europe/America/Middle East. As an example, Tanzanians were recently arrested for trafficking in Britian in a case linked to the plight of a Tanzanian domestic worker.  More recently twenty durban men were trafficked to the United Arab Emirates after they were made to believe that they were being recruited to be taxi drivers with salaries of R25 ooo a month only to discover when they got there that they would get R450 a month and had their passports confiscated. More on this story in the next post.

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