South Africa: New Strategies Needed to Stop Human Trafficking

press release

The IFP commends the Departments of Social Development and Women, Children and People with Disabilities for assisting 25 children who were smuggled into South Africa over the past 10 months. But how many trafficked children are not found, rescued and assisted? The IFP believes we are looking at the tip of the iceberg.

This week two Somali men were arrested at the Swartkop border post for trying to smuggle a baby, 5 children and a woman into South Africa from Botswana. Two of the children were hidden in the boot of a car. The men were in possession of an asylum seekers' permit, refugee documents and a South African ID.

IFP Spokesperson on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Ms Liezl Van der Merwe MP, said, "We urge the police to determine the identity of these children as quickly as possible. There may be families frantically looking for their children right now. A full investigation into how these children came to be in this situation is also needed to ensure that they do not go from a temporary place of safety back into a place of vulnerability and danger."

The IFP notes that human trafficking in South African remains a serious problem, which warrants intervention on all fronts.

"South Africa is known as a source, transit and destination country for trafficking. Yet, according to 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report compiled by the US State Department, the South African Government is still failing to meet the minimum standards in fighting human trafficking," said van der Merwe.

She also noted that Government must bring itself into line with the international norms and standards for detection, prevention and intervention. Formal procedures must be developed to rapidly identify trafficking victims and refer them to appropriate care facilities.

"Provincial task teams and rapid response teams - including representatives from law enforcement - must be properly trained and resourced in order to combat this scourge. A failure to do so will amount to a deliberate failure to protect our women and children. In addition, the IFP calls on Government to strengthen all ports of entry and to prioritize the processing of human trafficking cases," said van der Merwe.

Issued by:

Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP,

IFP Spokesperson on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, 082 729 2510.

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