Each day, nine people are reported missing with the South African police, and many of them become the victims of human trafficking in South Africa.

     

This came to the fore on Monday when the Law Commission reported that South Africa`s involvement in human trafficking was extensive, but at present, no legislation exists to make this a criminal offense. Proposed legislation can not be expected before June next year.

Louisa Stuurman, an investigator with the Law Commission looking into human trafficking, confirmed that the investigation had “already compiled substantial documentation”. The commission has classified its investigation as a priority because of the seriousness of the problem and evidence that South Africa was serving as a staging point for hordes of women and children.

These either ended up in the sex trade, or were used as cheap labor or were moved on to countries in the east Asia. Nevertheless, said Stuurman, it was the commission`s duty to ensure that proposed legislation was absolutely correct and indisputable so that prosecutions did not fail because of technicalities.

In a reply to a question in parliament, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said 3,591 people had been reported missing in 2004, of whom 867 were children.

Since 2001, 13,067 people had been reported missing. These figures were the highest since 2001 and Gauteng was the province with the highest number of people reported missing at 1,461.

According to Mike Waters, spokesperson for social development of the opposition party, Democratic Alliance, the government ought to institute steps to ensure legislation was in place to prohibit human trafficking. (By Enditem)

Johannesburg, 23/05/2005

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