We’ve made history - Stop Sex Trafficking

On Monday, 29 July, President Jacob Zuma enacted the Prevention
and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill.

The announcement has been welcomed by Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA), ECPAT and The Body Shop.
Since July 2009 these organisations have been actively involved in campaigning for this essential piece of legislation, which will put a stop to the exploitation of children through forced labour and prostitution brought about by trafficking. The signing of this bill is significant as it is the first legislation which comprehensively addresses the scourge of trafficking in persons. The offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a fine of R 100 million, or both.
The presidency stated that the new legislation also created offences regarding debt bondage, tampering with or destroying travel documents, and making use of the services of victims, for whom perpetrators are required to provide compensation. Victims themselves are provided with protection, as well as assistance to overcome their traumatic and life-threatening experiences. The bill gives effect to South Africa’s international obligations in terms of the United Nations Protocols.

According to The Body Shop South Africa’s Campaign Manager, Lana-Anne Abrahams, “We are elated at the announcement! Up until now trafficking within our country and across international borders has remained largely
unaddressed. The passing of the Bill not only criminalises and combats the trafficking of children and young people but also provides for their protection, treatment and recovery. The operalisation of this bill will curtail the prevalence of innocent individuals falling prey to modern-day slavery.”

After the campaign launch in 2009, CWSA and The Body Shop South Africa led a march to parliament in 2011, where a petition containing 43 000 signatures was handed in to lobby the government to approve the Bill. The march formed part of an on-going, global campaign initiated by The Body Shop, to urge governments to do more to protect the 1.2 million children and young people worldwide being trafficked every year for sexual exploitation. In October 2011, this campaign resulted in one of the greatest petitions ever to be presented to the United Nations, with over 7.2 million signatures collected from all over the world - all calling for governments to take urgent action to stop sex trafficking. To date the campaign has inspired change on an unprecedented scale with South Africa now joining 22 other countries
across the world committing to adopt new legislation in response.

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