Combating Human Trafficking: The South African Legal Context

Working Papers

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PHR Working Paper

June 2012

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South Africa’s international obligation to combat human trafficking in terms of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) requires the promulgation of comprehensive counter-trafficking legislation. The present counter-trafficking legislative response is fragmented. Transitional anti-trafficking provisions are included in the Children’s Act, which criminalises all types of child trafficking, and in the Sexual Offences Amendment Act, which criminalises sex trafficking. However, these two pieces of legislation do not fully comply with the minimum standards set out in the Palermo Protocol, especially the core standards for a domestic criminal law response. For this reason, law reform is essential and needs to be finalised as a matter of urgency.

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