n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Expert reflections on challenges experienced to address human trafficking in South Africa prior to the implementation of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013

Volume 2014, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



It is argued in this article that human trafficking-related cases in South Africa are difficult to measure in terms of statistics. However, research suggests that the problem of human trafficking is relatively widespread. On 29 July 2013 Pres. Jacob Zuma signed the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2013 (Act No 7 of 2013), giving South Africa, for the first time, a single statute that addresses human trafficking holistically. Previously, the legislative framework dealing with human trafficking had been fragmented posing challenges for the Criminal Justice System (CJS) to adequately respond to human trafficking related cases. Before this legislation was signed into law, a study was conducted for a period of two years (2012-2013) within Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal as well as the Western Cape. The aim of this study was to solicit the views of experts within the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) as well as the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) regarding the challenges posed by human trafficking, as experienced by these role-players, and how the CJS responded to such challenges. Thus, this article reflects the experiences of these experts regarding the challenges brought by human trafficking and their preparation to address these challenges; the characteristics of investigated cases; and the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases in the absence of human trafficking legislation. With the 'enabling legislation' just been signed into law, an important question is: Are we yet there? This article provides recommendations based on the findings as well as the operationalisation of the Act on regulations that are required to be made by key role-playing departments.

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