Why providing training on human trafficking to AmaKhosi in the IsiZulu language helps to combat this crime

Durban, South Africa - 22 November 2018 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) and in collaboration with the KwaZulu Natal National Prosecuting Authority and KwaZulu Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs facilitated a three-day workshop for AmaKhosi (traditional leaders) on how to combat human trafficking. The workshop took place in Durban from the 7-9 November 2018. The main aim of the workshop was to raise awareness about harmful traditional practices, the scourge of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) but also to build the capacity of traditional leaders on the identification and referral of suspected TIP cases.

The Republic of South Africa is a primary destination for TIP in the Southern African region and within Africa at large. It is also an origin and transit country for trafficking towards Europe and North America. Women, men and children are being trafficked for the purpose of forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced begging and forced criminality to name just a few. Victims have also been identified on fishing vessels in South Africa's territorial waters. Internally, girls are trafficked from rural to urban areas for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, while boys are forced to work in street vending, begging, agriculture, mining, and criminal activities.

During the opening ceremony of the workshop, Inkosi M.Z Mthuli, member of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders said, "Trafficking in Persons training for traditional leaders is very important because of the role that traditional leaders play in communities". He went on to say, "Traditional leaders have an obligation to fight the scourge of human trafficking in their communities".

The objectives and deliverables of the workshop were to:

  • Develop the knowledge and capacity of the amaKhosi (traditional leaders and chiefs) in identifying trafficking in persons cases and on referral mechanisms once a case is identified;
  • Develop the knowledge and capacity of the amaKhosi and Deputy-Chairpersons of Traditional Councils with regards to protection measures;
  • Develop the knowledge and capacity of the amaKhosi and Deputy-Chairpersons of Traditional Councils to correctly refer a case once it is identified.

Speaking during the workshop, Inkosi C.S. Kubheka, Amajba District traditional leader, said "The trafficking in persons training is an eye opener and has made us all aware of what is happening in our communities".

The workshop covered the following subjects:

  • The Prevention and Combatting in Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013;
  • Definitions and basic concepts of trafficking in persons and the difference between trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants;
  • South African trafficking in persons cases;
  • The importance of understanding social and local contexts;
  • Harmful traditional practices and the role of traditional authority structures in trafficking in persons;
  • Indicators of trafficking in persons

One of the outcomes of the training was a decision taken that traditional leaders should be represented in the Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Team in KwaZulu Natal, because they are an important stakeholder in the response to trafficking in persons in the province.  Nominations amongst the traditional leaders were made to identify TIP focal points for each district. These focal points will now be responsible for referring all identified suspected TIP cases to the Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Team in KwaZulu Natal.  Furthermore, traditional leaders agreed to create a platform to enable the Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Teams to make representations during quarterly house meetings for traditional leaders.


Workshop participants included the National Prosecuting Authority (KwaZulu Natal), the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KwaZulu Natal), the Commission for Gender Equality, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, "amaKhosi" traditional leaders and GLO.ACT project implementing partners.

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:

Banele Kunene, National Project Officer



Email: glo.act@unodc.org

Twitter: @glo_act