Human Trafficking in SA: Distinguishing fact from fiction

Human Trafficking in SA: Distinguishing fact from fiction

South Africa is said to be one of the leading hotspots for Human Trafficking and of late we have all been exposed to videos of alleged human trafficking cases with adults and terrifyingly young children. 

Human trafficking
Getty images

The mass hysteria around these alleged cases of Human Trafficking of late in the media, coupled with videos of young children, teenage women going missing have been circulating on social media. 

READ: Lerato Kganyago gets real about human trafficking in SA

There still seems to be a lack of information and statistics around this issue however when it comes to the South African context with the burning question at the centre of the discussion being: "How big Human Trafficking really in South Africa?". Unfortunately, it seems there is no definite answer to this question. 

In fact, comment ranges from one extreme to the other. On one side, the prevalence of trafficking is seen by some to be presented quite sensationally with a lot of guesswork. 

This creates a problem of credibility with the public and panic. On the other end of the spectrum, we have an equally concerning narrative which is driven by sceptics who disregard evidence-based data, thereby declaring that human trafficking is a perpetuated myth and not a serious problem compared to other well-referenced societal issues. 

According to the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) by the State Department in the United States, Human Trafficking indeed a concerning reality in South Africa. 

The Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria reports that what is known about trafficking is largely based on ad hoc studies, questionable and outdated statistics, anecdotal information, and common myths. Furthermore, confusion around the actual definition of human trafficking means that it is regularly conflated with human smuggling and other forms of irregular migration. 

There is no denying that there seems to be a pattern of young children being targeted for most of these alleged human trafficking cases. 

Stacey and J Sbu approached Marc Hardwick, the Managing Director of The Guardian which is the only Specialist Private Child Abuse Investigation company in South Africa and the National Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator, at the Salvation Army Carin Holmes about this matter. 

Both admitted to the dangers of society dismissing and downplaying issues related to both adult and child trafficking as matters of great consequence. Marc and Carin also give parents some practical advice on what they can do to safeguard their children, whether they are young or teenagers. 

Listen to the above conversations in the podcasts below: 

Show's Stories