n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Towards a sharp prosecution sword to combat human trafficking : comparing the new South African counter-trafficking law with international prosecution standards

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051


Combating human trafficking and, in particular, the successful prosecution of this crime remains a daunting challenge worldwide. To address the global trade in human beings, the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, established international minimum standards for combating and effectively prosecuting human trafficking. States party to these treaties - including South Africa - must comply with these standards in their domestic law. On 9 August 2015 South Africa's first comprehensive counter-trafficking law, the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013, came into operation. This article seeks to contribute to the existing body of knowledge by assessing whether or not the new South African law complies with five key international standards on the prosecution of human trafficking. Although the study reveals some minor shortcomings, it is submitted that the new South African legislation fundamentally complies with the main international prosecutorial standards. Apart from complying with minimum standards, the legislation further includes a number of additional provisions which significantly extend the prosecution's arsenal in respect of various trafficking offences.

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