18 October 2013

Africa Check - Human Trafficking - Sensationalist and Unsubstantiated Reporting


Are 30,000 children "trafficked" into the sex trade every year in South Africa? Are 30,000 children "currently" being prostituted in South Africa? As AFRICA CHECK discovered, the estimates are not supported by available research. By Kate Wilkinson and Sintha Chiumia.

Human trafficking is rife in South Africa, if recent press reports are to be believed, and children are at particularly high risk of being traded and prostituted.

As many as "30,000 kids trafficked in SA" read a recent headline in The Times. A similar article appeared in the Pretoria News, suggesting that "at least 30,000 children" are trafficked and prostituted annually in South Africa and "50% of them are under the age of 14". The paper attributed the claim to Roxanne Rawlins of Freedom Climb, "a project that works with trafficked people around the globe".

The reports coincided with National Human Trafficking Awareness Week, a programme begun in 2006 by the International Organisation for Migration's Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme.

The claims are not new.

In May 2013, Margaret Stafford, the coordinator for the Salvation Army's anti-trafficking campaign, reportedly told The Star: "In 2010, we had 20,000 to 30,000 children prostituted - now the figure stands at 45,000."

In the...

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