A critical evaluation of South Africa's enactment of new anti-trafficking legislation in fulfilment of its international obligations to prevent, suppress and combat the trafficking of persons under the Palermo Convention

Pretorius, Nandi (2020-04)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (“Palermo Convention”) and the Protocols thereto aim to prevent and combat the international phenomena collectively known as organised crime. Specifically, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children obliges South Africa, as United Nations (“UN”) member that has ratified the Palermo Convention and a number of other international treaties, to promulgate legislation explicitly dealing with the prevention and combating of trafficking in persons. Consequently, the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 (“the Trafficking Act”) was promulgated by the national legislature on 29 July 2013 and has come into operation on 9 August 2015. The Trafficking Act creates the statutory crime of trafficking in persons along with different other punishable acts in order to combat trafficking in persons. This definition is compared to that the prescribed conduct which South Africa is internationally obliged to criminalise. Prior to the enactment of the Trafficking Act, South Africa lacked specific legislation criminalising crimes of trafficking in persons. However, South Africa utilised the existing common and statutory law offences, which included certain interim trafficking measures in prosecution of human trafficking. This study compares the South African legal framework, consisting of both the Trafficking Act position and the pre-existing legal resources, with the international obligations in terms of the Convention and Palermo Protocol in order to ascertain whether South Africa meets the three international obligations of, firstly, the criminalisation of certain prescribed conduct, secondly, victim protection and assistance and, thirdly, the prevention and combat of trafficking in persons. This study focuses on analysing the compliance of South Africa’s trafficking definition with the international offence. The mens rea required internationally is discussed and compared to the mens rea required by the Trafficking Act. This study draws the conclusion that although the Trafficking Act definition and further provisions predominantly satisfy the international requirements, certain unacceptable lacunae exist in the law. The failure to waive the requirement of the prohibited means in respect of child trafficking as well as the neglect to effect the provisions in respect of foreign victims of trafficking are material defects that must be addressed. Recommendations to remedy the legislative flaws are consequently made in order to strengthen South Africa’s international compliance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Verenigde Nasies se Verdrag teen Transnasionale Georganiseerde Misdaad en die protokolle daartoe het as doel om internasionale misdaadverskynsels te voorkom. Die Protokol teen Mensehandel (“Palermo Protokol”) is deur Suid-Afrika bekragtig en, sodoende, is Suid-Afrika verbonde tot sekere internasionale verpligtinge in die bestry van mensehandel. Die Palermo Protokol verplig Suid-Afrika, ondermeer, om omvattende wetgewing in die voorkoming en bestryding van mensehandel te promulgeer. Gevolglik het Suid-Afrika die Wet op die Voorkoming en Bekamping van Mensehandel, wet 7 van 2013, (“Mensehandel Wet”) op 29 Julie 2013 afgekondig en het dit op 9 Augustus 2015 in werking getree. Die Mensehandel Wet skep die statutêre misdaad van mensehandel en poog verder om aan die internasionale vereistes te voldoen deur verdere verwante oortredings en verpligtinge te skep. Die Suid-Afrikaanse mensehandel definisie word in hierdie studie ontleed en met die internasionale misdaad en die elemente daarvan vergelyk ten einde te bepaal of die Suid-Afrikaanse misdaad die internasionale standard bevredig. Verdermeer, oorweeg die studie ook die geheel van die Suid-Afrikaanse regsraamwerk tot beskikking in die bekamping van mensehandel. In hierdie opsig word beide die beskikbare gemenereg en statutêre misdade voor en na inwerkingtreding van die nuwe wetgewing krities bespreek ten einde vas te stel of die algehele Suid-Afrikaanse regsraamwerk aan die drie internasionale verpligtinge van, eerstens, die kriminalisering van die vereiste gedrag, tweedens die beskerming en bystand van mensehandel slagoffers en, derdens, die voorkoming en bestryding van mensehandel, bevredig. Die studie oorweeg ook watter vorm van mens rea internasionaal sowel as deur die Mensehandel Wet aanvaar sal word. Die studie bevind dat die Suid-Afrikaanse mensehandel definisie wel aan die internasionale vereistes voldoen met die uitsondering van die gedrag wat gekriminaliseer word waar die mensehandel slagoffer minderjarig is. Suid-Afrika voldoen ook aan die verdere internasionale reg vereistes ten opsigte van slagoffer-beskerming en die skep van die vereiste voorkomingsraamwerk. Alhoewel die Mensehandel Wet en die verdere Suid-Afrikaanse regsraamwerk hoofsaaklik aan die internasionale vereistes voldoen, bestaan daar wel sekere onaanvaarbare tekortkominge in die Wet. Die nalate om die mensehandel definisie aan te pas deur die weglating van die vereiste metode element ten opsigte van handel van minderjariges sowel as die versuim om die bepalings in verband met beskerming van buitelandse slagoffers in werking te stel, is wesenlike defekte wat aangespreek moet word. Die studie maak gevolglik sekere aanbevelings om hierdie en verdere wetgewende tekortkominge te remedieer met die doel om Suid-Afrika in sy internasionale nakoming en bevegting van mensehandel te versterk.

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