oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Piercing the veil on trafficking in women

Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Human trafficking is like a hydra reaching into all facets of political, economic, criminal, health, migration, and most importantly human rights. The global nature of the crime leaves almost no country untouched by the movement and bondage of human beings. This paper makes a comparative evaluation of the problem in Africa, Eastern Europe and former USSR, USA, Asia and Australia considering the nature and scope of the problem, the pre-disposing factors and the current national legislation on the subject within the various jurisdictions. There is also a specific focus on South Africa. In addressing the problem of human trafficking, the UN and various human rights organisations have proposed standards that countries should consider introducing into national legislation which would criminalise trafficking, and concomitantly recognise that trafficked persons are victims of serious human rights abuses requiring access to (sometimes exceptional) victims' services. It is often the latter that causes the greatest dilemma because of the serious financial implications. The challenge for most countries will be whether in claiming to address the inequality in status and opportunity that makes women vulnerable to trafficking, the countries will commit to the challenges confronting them in dealing with the problems of human trafficking.

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