what you can do if you suspect someone in your neighbourhood is involved in human trafficking? – South Africa

SAAHTT has been writing original posts and aggregating content from other sites on human trafficking with a particular focus on the southern African region. This goes somewhere in achieving our principal objective of ending modern day slavery in southern Africa. The information on this blog has in some way been meant to equip southern African residents through our online community to engage in activities that combat trafficking in the region. As an organisation, we have particular distaste for rhetoric without action and have mentioned it occasionally on this blog. We believe that anti trafficking efforts are only effective as residents increase vigilance, tell a neighbour about trafficking or about SAAHTT 🙂 , comment on anti trafficking issues on various platforms, keep on the look-out for suspicious activities and report any incidences which may involve trafficking. Despite this particular focus on action and the publication of regular posts on trafficking it has emerged that it is still difficult to get onto this blog and find specific information on what one can do when they suspect there could be incidences of trafficking in their neighbourhoods and or near their workplaces. So in an online conversation with Charly Mariaan Nel (she is an amazing modern day abolitionist), she mentioned that SAAHTT could do a post on country specific actions people can take to report incidences of trafficking. We then communicated with her that we would do a post before Saturday 27 March 2010 but we failed to meet the deadline. Nonetheless we will put up country specific actions that can be taken to bring down trafficking gangs. We begin with South Africa, which is undeniably the target of traffickers due its GDP, modern infrastructure, booming economy and cosmopolitan nature.

So, if you are in South Africa and think there could be trafficking incidences around you. You could:

  • Call the toll-free anti trafficking hotline # 08000- 737283
  • Call your local police station (we think they will pay more heed now as human trafficking has been in the news almost daily in the run up to FIFA 2010 World Cup)
  • Contact the Salvation Army (they are doing an enormous amount of work on trafficking)
  • Engage the Red Light Campaign ( the regional office is in Zambia but if you send an e-mail, they will know what to do)
  • Do not confront the suspected traffickers. It may also not be wise to directly confront the suspected victims (they may deny they are being trafficked and they may report to the trafficking gangs)

Does this help??

Please remember that taking time out to make that phone call or send that e-mail may be all it takes to save young children’s/ women’s lives. Do not put of action. There is no particular reason to be afraid of taking action as you are not confronting the traffickers and or trafficking victims directly. Should you still be afraid despite SAAHTT re-assurances 🙂 you can still keep your identity anonymous. What is important is that you take action.

All the links on the organisations and institutions you can approach will lead you directly to contact information.

Disclosure: Charly is an active fan on SAAHTT facebook page and a good friend of ours 🙂


State of the Internet

At SAAHTT we value (immensely) the power of technology. The interface between technology and development has always been of major interest to us. That is why we value blogging, having a facebook and twitter profile and continuously engaging our ever increasing online community. We believe that technology can be harnessed to bolster anti trafficking efforts and to raise global awareness on the issue. In addition, we also take ourselves lightly every once in a while and realise that life is not always serious, grim and all about human trafficking. It is in this light that we are posting this very cool video on the state of the internet. Kudos to the creator. Indulge…..

South Africa to fast-track human trafficking law

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa is to fast-track a comprehensive new law against human trafficking before the start of the soccer World Cup, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.

South Africa hosts the month-long event from June 11 and some child rights groups have warned that trafficking, mainly for sexual exploitation, could rise during the tournament.

Work on the law, intended to bring together disparate pieces of legislation against trafficking and enhance prosecution, began in 2003. Currently, there is limited scope to prosecute because of the narrow nature of the existing trafficking laws.

Perpetrators could face life imprisonment or heavy fines under the bill.

“In the main this bill was not motivated by our hosting the 2010 World Cup, but as I’ve indicated all these international criminal syndicates might use (this) opportunity … in order to intensify this trafficking of persons,” Radebe said.

The bill would give South African courts extra-territorial jurisdiction to prosecute acts outside its borders and obliges Internet providers to report suspect activity and addresses.

According to a U.N. global report on trafficking, the most common form of human trafficking was sexual exploitation targeting girls and women, with forced labour the other major driver of a global phenomenon estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Radebe put the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill to parliament on Tuesday and said it would be fast-tracked to make sure it came into effect next month.

“We remain unrelenting in our commitment to fight crime, however it manifests itself, even in the form that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities, women and children,” Radebe said.

South Africa would follow Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland and Tanzania as southern African countries which have specific legislation dealing with human trafficking.

Source: www.reuters.com 16/03/2010

Status of SADC countries and the Parlemo Protocol

In the previous post, we highlighted that the major international instrument guiding UN member states in terms of anti trafficking is the Parlemo Protocol. The table below from IOM is important insofar as it shows the whether or not SADC countries have signed and ratified the Parlemo Protocol. While there were a few countries that had not ratified the protocol as of 2007, it is important to note that by 2007, 12 SADC countries had already ratified the Protocol. However, it is disheartening to note that of those 12 countries, only Mozambique has taken steps to domesticate anti trafficking legislation. Without the necessary legal and policy framework, government actions will remain lethargic at best. Human trafficking is a complex crime that requires the enacment of responsive legislative and policy instruments inorder to protect victims, net traffickers and combat trafficking.

Status of SADC countries and the Palermo Protocol

Country Signature Ratification Accession
Botswana 10 April 2002 29 August 2002
DRC 28 October 2005
Lesotho 14 December 2000 24 September 2003
Madagascar 14 December 2000 15 September 2005
Malawi 17 March 2005
Mauritius 24 September 2003
Mozambique 15 December 2000 20 September 2006
Namibia 13 December 2000 16 August 2002
South Africa 14 December 2000 20 February 2004
Swaziland 08 January 2001
Tanzania 13 December 2000 24 May 2006
Zambia 24 April 2005

Ratified: Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania

‘Ratification’ is an act by which a State signifies an agreement to be legally bound by the terms of a particular treaty. To ratify a treaty, the State first signs it and then fulfils its own national legislative requirements. Once the appropriate national organ of the country – Parliament, Senate, the Crown, Head of State or Government, or a combination of these – follows domestic constitutional procedures and makes a formal decision to be a party to the treaty. The instrument of ratification, a formal sealed letter referring to the decision and signed by the State’s responsible authority, is then prepared and deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General in New York.

Accession: DRC, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia

‘Accession’ is an act by which a State signifies its agreement to be legally bound by the terms of a particular treaty. It has the same legal effect as ratification, but is not preceded by an act of signature. The formal procedure for accession varies according to the national legislative requirements of the State. To accede to a human rights treaty, the appropriate national organ of a State – Parliament, Senate, the Crown, Head of State or Government, or a combination of these – follows its domestic approval procedures and makes a formal decision to be a party to the treaty. Then, the instrument of accession, a formal sealed letter referring to the decision and signed by the State’s responsible authority, is prepared and deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General in New York.

Not Sign/Ratified: Angola, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

Last updated 23/02/2007

Source: IOM

know your international anti trafficking protocols

What is the Parlemo Trafficking Protocol?

convention against transnational organised crime

convention against transnational organised crime

What is commonly referred to as the Parlemo Protocol is fully called the ‘Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children’. It is a protocol to the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and was adopted by the United Nations in Palermo (Italy) in 2000. The Protocol commits ratifying states to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and to assist victims of trafficking.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is responsible for implementing the Protocol and offers practical assistance to states in terms of drafting laws, comprehensive national anti trafficking strategies and assisting with resources to implement them.

The Protocol defines human trafficking as the transporting of persons, by means of coercion, deception or consent for the purpose of exploitation such as forced or consensual labour or prostitution.

Besides defining human trafficking, the Protocol also covers the following:

  • facilitating the return and acceptance of children who have been victims of cross-border trafficking, with due regard to their safety;
  • prohibiting the trafficking of children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation of children, exploitative labour practices of the removal of body parts;
  • suspending parental rights of parents, caregivers or any other persons who have parental rights in respect of a child should they be found to have trafficked a child;
  • ensuring that definitions of trafficking reflect the need for special safeguards and care for children, including appropriate legal protection;
  • ensuring that trafficked persons are not punished for any offences or activities related to their having been trafficked, such as prostitution and immigration violations;
  • ensuring that victims of trafficking are protected from deportation or return where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that such return would represent a significant security risk to the trafficked person or their family;
  • considering temporary or permanent residence in countries of transit or destination for trafficking victims in exchange for testimony against alleged traffickers, or on humanitarian and compassionate grounds;
  • providing for proportional criminal penalties to be applied to persons found guilty of trafficking in aggravating circumstances, including offences involving trafficking in children or offences committed or involving complicity by state officials; and,
  • providing for the confiscation of the instruments and proceeds of trafficking and related offences to be used for the benefit of trafficked persons.

The importance of these international instruments (protocols/coneventions) is that they give a framework for states to tackle commonly recognised challenges. There is then scope for states to tap into UN technical assistance and address some of these challenges in a co-operative manner. And this is particularly critical when it comes to transnational organised crimes such as human trafficking or drug trafficking.

So what is the Status of SADC countries and the Palermo Protocol?? Will discuss that in the next post Please do not forget to leave comments.

s.a celebrities make video on human trafficking

This is a great video from South African celebraties on human trafficking. We particularly like the fact that it moves from being funny to being serious as the celebrities realise the gravity of human trafficking. The video is great as it highlights limited knowledge of the problem of human trafficking. Its also great that South African celebrities made time for the PSA with the football world cup drawing near. Great video!

human trafficking gets spotlight @ TED Conference

The recently ended Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) conference is one of the most anticipated, talked about and blogged about conferences. It provides a platform to explore some of the most challenging problems of the 21st century and the most progressive solutions or future solutions to these challenges. Eminent actors from the technology, design, entertainment and business spheres interact and share innovative approaches to addressing wide ranging issues.  The likes of Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, David Cameron and James Cameron were all part of this year’s conference. Issues discussed at this year’s conference included energy, governance and climate change. TED is arguably one of the only conferences out there that can put together global leaders from entertainment, business, technology, health, among other sectors, into one room.

Despite the pre-eminence of this conference it has not been without its controversies. Chief among them is the exclusivity of the conference. It is viewed as elitist. It is open only to the invited and attendance costs stand at a prohibitive US$6000 among other issues. However, despite these well founded criticisms the conference remains an exciting and permanent feature of the conference circuit and marks a gobal attempt to innovatively confront today’s challenges.

What was particularly exciting about TED 2010 for modern day abolitionists is the fact that Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves had an opportunity to talk about human trafficking .  He highlighted the fact that people do not enslave people to be mean to them but do it inorder to make a profit. He stated that slaves are found in every country and on every continent. According to Bales, slavery has been around forever, what is just new is the price for slaves. Humans are cheaper than ever. He finally stated that he belived that US10,8 billion is what is required to free all the slaves and this is the same amount spent globally last year on gaming equipment. Are we willing to live in a world of slavery?? Hope the TED organisers get this talk up soon.

SAAHTT believes that human trafficking can only be confronted successfully when it is exposed at the gobal level. The fact that Kevin Bales got an opportunity to talk about this most heinous crime at such a global forum is really important and marks one small step in blowing the cover off human trafficking and getting people to think about modern slavery and ways to combat it.