Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Child Trafficking in SA

A disturbing crime story caught my attention today.

South Africa is a major destination and source for international child trafficking, a conference on human trafficking heard in Pretoria today. Susan Kreston of the Council of the National Centre for Justice and the Rule of Law in the USA told the conference, arranged by the Institute for Security Studies, that between 28 000 and 38 000 children were currently being prostituted in South Africa.

"Up to 25% of prostitutes in South Africa are children, and up to 25%t of street children are prostitutes," she told the conference. In a 2003 study on migration, South Africa was described as the main destination for trafficked children in Southern Africa. "Many are sent from Angola, Botswana, (the Democratic Republic of) Congo and Lesotho as well as from Thailand and Russia," the report detailed.

It also said that many South African children were sent to Europe and Asia to work as sex slaves, labour slaves or both. Kreston explained that human trafficking was the fastest growing source of profit for organised criminal enterprises worldwide. "It is currently second only to guns and drugs. But the advantage of human cargo is they can be reused unlike drugs," she said.

She said it was currently a US7 billion dollar (about R49 billion) global industry with up to US30 000 (R210 000) paid for a child.
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