World Day against Trafficking: Shining the spotlight on combatting child trafficking in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa - 21 Augusts 2018 - UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), and in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, marked World Day against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) on 30 July 2018 by shining a spotlight on how we can respond to trafficking of children and youth. The organizations convened a one-day workshop for community leaders and other relevant stakeholders in Cape Town. The workshop also provided an exhibition space for many of the NGOs participating in the event and it enabled them to showcase their achievements in the fights against TIP, and the specific areas of work that they are involved in. According to UNODC's 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, child trafficking is a major concern. Children are trafficked for the purpose of forced labour, forced begging and child sexual exploitation. Children account for 1 in 3 victims of human trafficking worldwide, though in some regions these figures are higher. Children who are forced to serve as soldiers are also as victims of trafficking.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • To raise public awareness on the scourge of child trafficking in Cape Town;
  • To further develop the capacity of community leaders on the identification and referral of suspected TIP cases occurring in their communities;
  • To share experiences on the challenges and opportunities arising from successfully prosecuting TIP cases in South Africa;
  • To create an environment of exchange and partnership building for stakeholders involved in the response to TIP.

During the opening ceremony of the workshop, Mr. Raul De Luzenberger, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa said that, "We should not forget that behind each victim lie devastating experiences and suffering that must be appropriately acknowledged and addressed, and more importantly, prevented. Given the harm caused to the victims, prevention remains the cornerstone of EU anti-trafficking action."  He further said, "Today's workshop addresses a difficult and sensitive issue: how to respond to the trafficking of children and young people. Having effective child protection mechanisms mainstreamed in migration policy worldwide is a strategic priority for the EU."

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. John Jeffery said that: "As with the rest of the world, in South Africa raising awareness about human trafficking and its implications is a key-element to prevent and protect people from this scourge. And when we raise awareness about human trafficking, perhaps the most important message we need to send is one of hope". He further said, "I was reading about the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking, which is administered by UNODC. On the website there is a page called "Victims' Voices", and I would urge you to read some of these true-life accounts of children who have been victims of trafficking".

Meanwhile, Ms. Zhuldyz Akisheva, UNODC Regional Representative, reaffirmed during her speech that, "Children and young people are particularly vulnerable and are an easy target for traffickers.  As UNODC we commend South Africa's demonstrated commitment to the protection of children and young people as is evidenced by the jurisprudence we have seen coming out of South African courts, which has shown zero tolerance of such violations and punished them heavily". She went on to say that: "Recently the High Court upheld a conviction of 8 life sentences, in an appeal against the first human trafficking in case in South Africa, the Lloyd Mabuza case, involving sex trafficking of young girls from Mozambique.  We also saw the groundbreaking case of State versus Fakudze, where the court imposed a life sentence for sex trafficking of a 14-year old girl from Swaziland.  We hope South Africa continues to be vigilant in identifying child trafficking, and ensuring that traffickers of children face the full might of the law".

Outcomes of the workshop were:

  • The Western Cape Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Team will further engage with the community leaders to explore possibilities of working together to fight the scourge of trafficking in persons in the communities. Invites will be extended to community leaders to attend some of the meetings of the Western Cape Provincial TIP Task Team. Furthermore, avenues for developing the capacity of community leaders to combat TIP will be pursued by the Western Cape Provincial Trafficking In Persons Task Team;
  • The NGOs involved in the response to Trafficking in Persons in the Western Cape reached a consensus on the establishment of partnerships in order to support each organization's initiatives. Since one of the challenges identified during the workshop was that organization were currently not working in a collaborative manner.

Workshop participants included the South African Police Services, National Prosecuting Authority, Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Department of Social Development, Department of Home Affairs, Lawyers for Human Rights, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Civil Society Organizations. Also taking part were our donor, the European Union, and project-implementing partner IOM. In total there were seventeen (17) female participants and eleven (11) male participants.


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,


Twitter: @glo_act