The US government has warned that South Africa was struggling in efforts to eliminate human trafficking, although it said the country had made some significant strides.
This was revealed in the Trafficking In Persons 2023 report, which was compiled by the US Department of State.
The report has highlighted reality of human trafficking in South Africa and the recommendations for the way forward, highlighting key areas to be addressed by the government and its agencies.
The report said the SA government had made efforts by providing trafficking victims with temporary emergency shelter, food assistance, interpreters, specialized medical care, psycho-social support, and transportation.
The government also signed memoranda of understanding with the governments of Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, and Thailand for intelligence sharing and coordinating victim repatriations.
However, the US Department of State listed more efforts and recommendations that can further assist South Africa to tackle human trafficking.
These efforts includes:
– Ensuring victims were not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.
– Increase collaboration between Provincial Task Teams (PTTs), and civil society to integrate referral and response systems and include all stakeholders, including survivors.
– Implementing policies to remove the requirement for victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions in order to be formally identified and receive trafficking victim status.
– Formalizing a confidential reporting mechanism for civil society to safely report allegations of official corruption and complicity in trafficking crimes directly to the government for vigorous investigation.
– Accredit or establish additional shelters to accommodate the needs of male, LGBTQIA, and child trafficking victims.
– Implement and consistently enforce strong regulations and oversight of labour recruitment companies, including by holding fraudulent labour recruiters criminally accountable.