Human Trafficking in South Africa: Political Conundrums and Consequences

  • Monique EmserEmail author
  • Suzanne Francis
Part of the Advances in African Economic, Social and Political Development book series (AAESPD)


Human trafficking remains a seemingly unsolvable problem despite over a decade of concerted international, regional and, increasingly, domestic attention. Little inroads have been made, especially in attempting to address its most prominent manifestation – human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Most government resources, in states from which victims are trafficked and in those in which they are received, have focused upon attempting to end this form of human trafficking. This has been done in two ways: either through draconian measures that focus on the security of the state (and curbing migration), or by attempting to eradicate the sex industry through criminalisation of consumers, and the continued criminalisation of sex workers. Such strategies have had little measurable effect on the supply or demand of those trafficked, which suggests that such counter-trafficking measures remain largely ineffective. Moreover, this preoccupation with the dark, exploitative side of the sex industry has been at the expense of a focus upon what is thought to be a far more pervasive form of human trafficking (which also intersects with sexual exploitation), that is labour trafficking. (Labour trafficking is an umbrella term used to denote trafficking for forced and bonded labour (in an array of industries), which also includes domestic servitude and forced marriage, forced begging, and the exploitation in warfare.) Hence, only the ways in human trafficking is manifested is addressed, and not the root causes of the phenomenon.


Sexual Exploitation Human Trafficking South African Context Task Team Transnational Organise Crime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  2. 2.Criminal and Medical Law, Faculty of LawBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  3. 3.Political Science, School of Social SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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