National Policy Framework launched to prevent and combat trafficking in persons

May 29th, 2019
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The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, gave the keynote address at the launch of the Combating and Prevention of Trafficking in persons, National Policy Framework, in Pretoria in April.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, launched the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons (TIP), National Policy Framework in April in Pretoria. In his keynote address Mr Jeffery said that the International Labour Organisation estimates that there are 4,8 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally and sex trafficking is but one form of human trafficking. He added that there are many other forms of trafficking, such as –

  • debt bondage;
  • labour trafficking;
  • organ smuggling;
  • domestic servitude;
  • forced marriage; and
  • forced criminality.

Mr Jeffrey said when South Africa (SA) passed the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 (the TIP Act), it was because of the growing concern by the increase of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and the role played by organised criminal networks in the trafficking of persons globally. ‘We are confident that the legislation, which came into operation in August 2015, along with the National Policy Framework that we are launching today, will bring us a step closer to this much-needed systemic response. South Africa’s efforts are directed at all forms of TIP – in other words, not only sex trafficking, but all forms of trafficking in persons, thereby creating a comprehensive legal tool to combat trafficking in persons in all its forms,’ Mr Jeffery said.

Mr Jeffery added that the Act outlines legal prescripts for arresting and prosecution of perpetrators of TIP, as well as providing required support services for the victims and includes a broad definition of trafficking and sets out various trafficking-related offences that are subject to harsh penalties. He pointed out that there are structures in place at national and provincial levels. A National Inter-sectoral Committee on Trafficking in Persons (NICTIP), which comprises of national departmental representatives from, among others, Justice and Constitutional Development, Health, Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, Labour, Social Development, Women, the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, as well as civil society organisations was established. The NICTIP leads the implementation and administration of the TIP Act at a national government level.

Mr Jeffery said Provincial Task Teams on Trafficking in Persons have also been established, as well as Provincial Rapid Response Teams to attend to operational matters relating to suspected complaints and pending cases of trafficking in persons and providing support to victims. He added that these structures constitute South Africa’s National Referral Mechanism, as outlined in United Nations Instruments of National Referral Mechanisms.

‘The objectives of these structures are to identify, support, protect and promote the rights of victims of trafficking in South Africa. This is a framework by which the South African government will meet its legal obligations under the TIP Act and the TIP National Policy Framework, as well as international and regional treaties,’ Mr Jeffery added. He noted that other measures taken include general awareness campaigns to sensitise communities on TIP issues, which were undertaken by governmental departments in partnership with civil society.

Mr Jeffery said by May this year, a generic training manual on the TIP Act would be finalised, thereby providing uniform standardised, integrated and multi-disciplinary training to role-players in the criminal justice system. This training will be rolled out in all the provinces in the current financial year. He added that an integrated and holistic immigration policy is receiving attention from the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster departments, which will make the combating of trafficking of persons a priority in the Cluster’s activities to ensure all persons in SA are and feel safe.

Mr Jeffery said the National Policy Framework is needed because addressing a complex phenomenon such as TIP is challenging. He added that an effort to curb the crime and protect its victims requires the intervention from multiple of stakeholders, including governmental departments and agencies, non-governmental organisations, civil society at large and international organisations. He pointed out that comprehensive national policy framework is, therefore, necessary to foster a shared understanding of the phenomenon and to provide a coordinated response among different stakeholders.

Mr Jeffery added that the National Policy Framework is also important, because its strategy and action plan has been informed by internationally recognised anti-trafficking guiding principles, such as a human rights/victim-centred approach, a multi-disciplinary approach, government ownership, civil society participation, a gender-sensitive approach and overall sustainability. In addition, he noted that the strategy addresses the four important pillars of anti-trafficking interventions, namely the prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership, on both national and international level.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.