Trafficking Act in Force

The Presidency

The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act has come into effect apart from sections 15, 16 and 31(2)(b)(ii).

The act was assented to in July 2013.

The act seeks to give effect to South Africa’s obligations as set out in various international agreements such as the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. 

The protocol places particular emphasis on women and children.

The legislation brings South African law into line with international standards.

The act flows from an investigation and report conducted and produced by the South African Law Reform Commission on trafficking in persons.

It calls for public awareness campaigns to be put in place designed to prevent and combat human trafficking. Human trafficking becomes a criminal offence.

The act also puts appropriate punitive measures in place. Forcing people into debt bondage is also viewed as a criminal act. Clause seven makes it an offence to use the services of victims of trafficking. Trafficking is described as an international crime.

Carriers transporting people across South Africa’s borders will be guilty of an offence if the victims do not possess valid travel documentation. All individuals that come into contact with people suspected of being trafficked are obliged to report it to the police.

The act also prohibits the prosecution of victims of trafficking. The hope is that victims will act against traffickers as witnesses.
Internet service providers are also required to take whatever measures possible to prevent their services from being used to facilitate human trafficking. Internet addresses involved in trafficking must be reported to the police.

Local courts will have jurisdiction over trafficking cases that occur in other countries.

The law prohibiting the disclosure of personal information falls away in the case of children suspected of being victims of traffickers. Everyone is required to report such incidences to the relevant authorities. Those who do not will be criminally liable.

The act also allows for those convicted of trafficking to be forced to pay compensation to a victim for damages, injuries, both physical and psychological and loss of income, amongst others.

The act, apart from the designated sections, came into effect on 9 August 2015.

The proclamation was published in Government Gazette 39078.

Meanwhile, the justice and constitutional development department has published the Draft Language Policy of the Special Investigating Unit in Gazette 39068 for comment.

A list of provincial languages has been identified while English will serve as the language of choice for internal and intra-government communication.

Written comment is invited until 31 August 2015.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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