Meeting the minimum standards of the Palermo Protocol: The case of South Africa
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This research is aimed at evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of the legal framework dealing with human trafficking in South Africa. To achieve this purpose, a comprehensive overview of the punishment, prevention of human trafficking in South Africa was looked into as well as victim protection. An overview of the history of slavery and an analysis of the modern conceptualisation of human trafficking indicate that human trafficking is a highly complex concept, and that there are various approaches to the understanding of the concept of human trafficking. There are various definitions of trafficking found in international instruments of which the most important has been identified as that contained in the Palermo Protocol. The definitions vary also because trafficking is closely related to the phenomena of migration, slavery and smuggling of humans. The study further identifies some significant root causes of trafficking The research concedes that although common-law crimes, statutes and transitional legislation can be utilized to challenge some trafficking elements, these offences are not comprehensive enough to amply deal with the crime’s complexities and provide only a fragmented approach to combating the crime. The study shows that South Africa has adopted specific legislation, namely the Trafficking Act. The research further establishes also that international, regional and sub-regional instruments on trafficking and related aspects of trafficking provide guidelines for developing effective strategies to deal with trafficking within the region. The counter-trafficking strategies as found in treaties, protocols, declarations and resolutions, which focus specifically on combating trafficking and those with a human-rights focus, obliges States to prosecute traffickers, protect those who are vulnerable to trafficking as well as those already trafficked and establish measures for prevention. This research further highlighted the importance of preventing human trafficking which starts with government but non- governmental organisations play a vital role in this element as well.