South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labour, sexual exploitation and organ harvesting.
Estimates of 247,000 children working in exploitative labour, including prostitution, which makes children exposed and vulnerable to the deception and exploitation of traffickers. Estimates of 30,000 child prostitutes.
Once involved in the criminal environment children can be emotionally intimidated, physically moved and trapped into trafficking.
Traditional migration patterns of labour to South Africa from surrounding states, the practice of children being loaned/sent to better-situated family members to be raised; and casual border procedures contribute to acceptance and expectations of unregulated cross-border movement.
Extensive and difficult land and sea state borders challenge the capacity of existing security forces.
Retrenchment of thousands of migrant labourers to surrounding states from South Africa’s mines and farms over the past decade has fueled the regional unemployed labour force.
Practical outcomes of armed conflict in neighbouring and extra-regional states include an influx or refugees (27,000 in 2004).
In spite of overall economic growth, poverty, both urban and rural, is the most visible cause of trafficking in humans, particularly women and children. Many children live in communities excluded from the free market economy.
In some peri-urban areas more than half the adult population is unemployed, and those in employment earn below-subsistence wages.
in such contexts people resort to risky survival strategies and become more vulnerable to human trafficking.
Organized transnational criminal groups are well-established, trading in various commodities, including human beings.