GLO.ACT embarks on data collection exercise as part of a Smuggling of Migrants survey in South Africa

Mpumalanga, South Africa -  13 October 2017 - Better data on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) is a priority need and a challenge in South Africa. The absence of relevant legislation, until 2013, is likely to have contributed to confusion about how to identify TIP and SOM cases over the past decade. South Africa is a party to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and the supplementing Protocols on TIP and SOM. It recently adopted the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Person Acts no. 7/2003. A bill on SOM is currently being drafted and a revision of other policy areas related to migration is also underway. There is currently no systematic collection and analysis of data on TIP and SOM. In terms of trafficking, different departments produce their own statistics, disaggregated according to different parameters. Data collection is also hampered by gaps in the identification TIP victims; particularly those trafficked for purposes other than sexual exploitation.

It is in this context that GLO.ACT, in collaboration with the Central Law Enforcement Unit of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), embarked on a countrywide SOM survey. The data collection exercise has seen GLO.ACT and central law enforcement unit visit various places in the Republic of South Africa to conduct face-to-face interviews with foreign nationals as part of the data collection exercise. The data collection has taken place in the following places: Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Pretoria, Musina border post in the Limpopo Province and the Lebombo border post in Mpumalanga.

The key objectives of the SOM survey are:

  • To profile smuggled migrants by age, gender, nationality and country of origin;
  • To identify main smuggling routes to South Africa;
  • To create an understanding of the methods used in smuggling and trafficking and the nature of the organizations/networks involved;
  • To determine financial and material benefit obtained from SOM;
  • To create an understanding of the drivers for SOM;
  • To determine where smuggled migrants settle in South Africa.

It is expected that the study will inform policy decisions around migration and also have an impact on the draft SOM legislation that DHA is working on. Other expected outcomes of the survey are:

  • Increased knowledge of the profile of smuggled migrants;
  • Increased knowledge of the main smuggling routes to South Africa;
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the methods used in smuggling and also the drivers of SOM;
  • DHA and other stakeholders in the criminal justice system will be in a better position to prevent and combat SOM.

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.


For more information, please contact:

Mr. Banele Kunene,

National Project Officer


Twitter:   @glo_act