Do you know what human trafficking is? Human trafficking is the illegal movement of human beings usually for purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. In case you did not know human trafficking is one of the hardest crimes to track. Human trafficking is a global issue that interconnected with different countries around the world. I’ll be analyzing specifically South Africa and the United States to analyze how they both tackle the issue of human trafficking. While discussing human trafficking on each country, I will also look at each country’s economy and touch on some history.
My perspective on how I would combat human trafficking will be given as well. South Africa is the most southern country in Africa. The country has had a history of conflict and human rights issues but it has always been one of the most economically prosperous nations in southern Africa due to its coastal location and the presence of gold, diamonds and natural resources. In the 14th century, the region was settled by the Bantu people who came from central Africa. South Africa was inhabited by Europeans in 1488.
Permanent settlement occurred in 1652 when the Dutch East India Company started and created a small station for provisions on the Cape. In later years, German, French and Dutch settlers began to arrive in the region. In the late 1700s European settlements began to spread throughout the Cape and then by the end of the 18th century the British conquered the entire Cape of Good Hope region. “In the early 1800s in an effort to escape British rule, many native farmers called Boers migrated north and in 1852 and 1854, the Boers created the independent Republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State” (Briney).
In the 1800s the discovery of diamonds and gold, more European immigrants arrived in South Africa. This eventually led to the Anglo-Boer Wars, which the British ended up winning, and as a result caused the republics to become part of the British Empire. “In May 1910 , the two republics and Britain formed the Union of South Africa, a self-governing territory of the British Empire and in 1912, the South African Native National Congress (eventually called the African National Congress or ANC) was founded with the goal of providing blacks in the region with more freedom” (Briney).
South Africa is a republic country and has two legislative bodies. Its executive branch is the Head of Government and Chief of State as well. The president is elected by the National Assembly for five year terms. South Africa has a growing economy with plenty of natural resources. “Gold, platinum and precious stones such as diamonds account for nearly half of South Africa’s exports. Auto assembly, textiles, iron, steel, chemicals and commercial ship repair also play a role in the country’s economy. In addition agriculture and agricultural exports are significant to South Africa” (Briney).
South Africa’s economic growth has continued to slow down. There is notably inadequate energy supply, infrastructure gaps, weak domestic demands, and anemic investment rates. Another major issue with the economy is the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is a significant increase at 24% and 49% in youth employment. Lack of skills is a constraint on growth as well (Kumo). Women and children are a primary target when discussing sex trafficking. The ages vary starting from 14 years old and even lower.
Some are kidnapped and forced into sex trafficking. It could be because they are uneducated and from a different country not being use to the culture or can’t speak the language. Poverty conditions may influence individuals to willingly participant in prostitution as well. If women or children don’t comply with their predators they are threatened or even beaten for not obeying what they are told to do. “South Africa is commonly regarded as the main country of destination for trafficked persons in the region,” SACTAP said in its brochure. In many cases, women and children are lured to South Africa with promises of jobs, education or marriage, only to be sold and sexually exploited in the country’s major urban centers, or small towns and more rural environments” (South Africa: How heavy is human trafficking , n. d. ). Women are being tricked into sex trafficking and don’t even know. Women who may be looking for a way to gain money whether to help their family or wanting to provide for themselves may end up being a victim of human trafficking.
There are not any official statistics as to how many people are trafficked in South Africa. According to the International Organization for Migration, the organization had assisted 306 victims of trafficking in Southern Africa during the period from January 2004 to January 2010 (Wilkinson, 2013). It’s reportedly that 30,000 of children reportedly trafficked into the sex trade in South Africa and 248 cases of human trafficking reported to the National Prosecuting Authority between 2010 and March 2011 (Wilkinson, 2013).
South Africa really does not focus on sex trafficking or take it as a serious offense because of the lack of statistics covering it. The government is not doing much to help decrease sex trafficking but a few laws have been established. “President Jacob Zuma has signed the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill into law, giving South Africa, for the first time, a single statute that tackles human trafficking holistically and comprehensively” (Humam trafficking bill signed into law , 2013).
South Africa is trying to make progress by creating laws and raising the awareness with organizations and programs. Next country I would like to focus on is the United States. The United States has a federal republic government with fifty states and one federal district. It is located on the North American continent and Washington, DC is the capital. There is one president elected by the United States Electoral College along with the votes coming from each state. The United States economy is not bad shape as of now but it still has work to.
We still are in trillions dollars of debt which seems to rise every year. The unemployment rate is has decreased to 5% which is better than recent months and years (Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, 2015). There are still plenty of people without jobs and struggling with low income. Human trafficking is hard to track anywhere because it’s like an underground crime that isn’t getting much as attention as drugs or weapons but the profit is just as big.
All the numbers and statistics on human trafficking are just estimates based how many people are discovered or reported. The U. S State Department released a state to reporters who write stories about the numbers of human trafficking: “Numbers game. Reporters often lead with numbers, but reliable statistics related to human trafficking are difficult to find. Human trafficking is a clandestine crime and few victims and survivors come forward for fear of retaliation, shame, or lack of understanding of what is happening to them. Numbers are not always the story.
Pursue individual stories of survival, new government initiatives, or innovative research efforts until better data are available” (Zurita, 2014). This statement means that there is no concrete way to know how many people are involved or to even get a close estimate because of how it’s not reported. No one knows how many child and adult trafficking victims there are in America. Seventeen government departments and agencies came together to create Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.
The Federal Strategic Plan states: “While it is difficult to measure the magnitude of human trafficking, the International Labor Organization estimates that more than 20 million men, women, and children are victimized by forced labor and sex trafficking worldwide, including in the United States” (Zurita, 2014). The U. S State Department estimated 14,500 to 17,500 people are being trafficked in America each year. The Justice Department estimated 293,000 children and minors are at risk of commercial sex trafficking.
The only real sources that have real numbers of human trafficking are the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Uniform Crime Report (UCR), and U. S. State Department’s. The U. S. knows that human trafficking is a major problem that’s on the rise and wants to prevent it all together. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the U. S. Justice Department stepped up their efforts to fight human trafficking. The FBI has on their website: “It’s sad but true: here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves”.
There is a U. S law that covers the following: “Peonage”, “Involuntary Servitude”, “Forced Labor”, “Trafficking with Respect to Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor”, “Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion”, “Whoever knowingly”, and “Unlawful Conduct with Respect to Documents in Furtherance of Trafficking, Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor” (Involuntary Servitude, Forced Labor, And Sex Trafficking Statutes Enforced). Here in the United States we have laws specifically that target human trafficking.
To fight human trafficking there are a plethora of program and social services dedicated to human trafficking victims and raising awareness. South Africa and the United States are the same and different when it comes to human trafficking. Human trafficking in general is hard to track and prevent. In South Africa the effort to prevent human trafficking doesn’t seem as high or a priority. Whereas in the United States there are laws dedicated to fighting human trafficking. Also, there are programs and social services provided to help victims of human trafficking. The U. S dedicated to preventing human trafficking as much as possible.