Human Rights Review

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 305–328 | Cite as

Policy Responses to Human Trafficking in Southern Africa: Domesticating International Norms

  • Hannah E. BrittonEmail author
  • Laura A. Dean


Human trafficking is increasingly recognized as an outcome of economic insecurity, gender inequality, and conflict, all significant factors in the region of southern Africa. This paper examines policy responses to human trafficking in southern Africa and finds that there has been a diffusion of international norms to the regional and domestic levels. This paper finds that policy change is most notable in the strategies and approaches that differ at each level: international and regional agreements emphasize prevention measures and survivor assistance, but national policies emphasize prosecution measures. Leaders across the region have adapted these policy norms to fit regionally specific conditions, including HIV/AIDS, conflict, traditional leaders, and prostitution. Yet, national policies often fail to incorporate preventative solutions to address gender inequality, human rights, and economic development. Until appropriate funding and preventative measures are introduced, the underlying issues that foster human trafficking will continue.


Norms diffusion Human trafficking Southern African Development Community Prostitution Child trafficking 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Science and Women, Gender, and Sexuality StudiesUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Political ScienceUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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