n Politeia - Response to human trafficking in South Africa : beyond the Criminal Justice System

Volume 38 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8845



This article evaluates the efforts of the South African criminal justice system in combating human trafficking. The phenomenon of human trafficking has been a resonating issue of concern to the South African State. Several women, children and, to a lesser degree, men have been entrapped in the web of exploitation produced via trafficking in the country. Steps have been taken by the State to combat the scourge by listing human trafficking as a crime that requires an effective criminal justice response and by enacting an anti-trafficking law. But despite these steps, this menace is increasing instead of diminishing. The findings of a broader doctoral study on examining human trafficking and the response of the South African criminal justice system (a study that used a mixed-method approach) revealed, for example, that the South African criminal justice system was unable to effectively combat human trafficking in the country. Specifically, the study found that the triggering factors that engendered the vulnerability and eventual exploitation of people through trafficking fell outside the scope of the justice system. The findings also indicated a strong linkage between the failure of social institutions and a rise in human trafficking in the country. This article provides recommendations for an approach that has enduring effects.

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