Cablegate: Interim Tip Assessment for South Africa

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

E. STATE 188708
G. STATE 136651

1. (SBU) Summary: South Africa has identified the
trafficking problem, is taking real steps, and is having
results. The National Assembly has passed the Children's
Bill, and the government continues to push the
"Anti-Trafficking" and "Sexual Offenses" bills through the
legislative process. Prosecutions of traffickers for related
offenses under existing laws continue despite legal attacks,
and South African law enforcement's embrace of training has
empowered officers to start numerous investigations of
suspected trafficking cases (refs B and D). Although the SAG
does not have specialized programs for child prostitution
victims, it continues to financially support the network of
shelters that care for these children. Government owned
media have devoted considerable air-time to trafficking, and
the SAG plans to include this issue in its prestigious annual
"Violence Against Women and Children" public awareness
campaign. The South African Police Service (SAPS) continued
its commitment to punish corruption and the Department of
Home Affairs dismissed and prosecuted many corrupt officials
under its new Minister's "turnaround strategy". End Summary.

Status of National Legislation

2. (U) The SAG has made progress on Action Plan items
concerning TIP related legislation. On June 22, the National
Assembly passed the Children's Bill, which specifically bans
the trafficking of children and exceeds UN Protocol on
Trafficking in Persons protections by including adoptions
facilitated or secured through illegal means in its
definition of trafficking. The bill is currently in
Committee in the National Council of Provinces, and is
expected to be adopted in the February 2006 session. Some
traditional leaders in Kwa-Zulu Natal, including King
Goodwill Zelithini, view the proposed bill's banning of
virginity testing as an infringement of cultural rights such
as the annual Zulu Reed Dance. Despite this opposition, the
Government continues to push for the bill's passage.

3. (U) The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC)
"Discussion Paper" on trafficking in persons, which will
include draft legislation, is expected to be released for
public comment in either January or early February 2006. The
SALRC's final report, incorporating comments received, will
be submitted to the Department of Justice and Constitutional
Development, which will be responsible for moving the
legislation forward. The proposed legislation would
incorporate the child trafficking legislation resulting in
one comprehensive law against human trafficking.

4. (U) The National Assembly's Portfolio Committee on
Justice debated the "Sexual Offenses Bill" recently, and
referred the draft to the Department of Justice and
Constitutional Development for further review. (Note: This
bill is Chapter Five of the comprehensive Criminal Law
Amendments Bill overhauling significant portions of South
Africa's criminal code, thus its progress is difficult to
predict. End Note)

Arrest and Prosecution of Traffickers

5. (SBU) South African law enforcement officials continue to
successfully arrest and prosecute traffickers under existing
laws. For example, the trial of "Ranch" owner Andrew
Phillips for procuring and living off the proceeds of
prostitution, will resume on November 28 (ref H). This
prosecution is continuing despite Phillips' attempts to have
the charges dismissed on technicalities.

6. (SBU) Although there are no reports of new prosecutions
of traffickers initiated since June 2005, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) says a number of
investigations are ongoing. Most investigations are
conducted by officers made aware of the trafficking issue
through training sessions provided by IOM and INL. In
August, two Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (JMPD) officers
who had received INL training arrested a school bus driver
for supplying schoolgirls for prostitution. The JMPD
arrested the driver, and the South African Police Service
(SAPS) booked him on charges of abduction. Unfortunately,
they were unable to pursue the case to conclusion because the
alleged victims recanted their original statements (ref D).
While the outcome of this particular investigation was
unfortunate, the JMPD officers' initiative in arresting the
alleged trafficker under existing laws is an example of
increased awareness after receiving training. To further
facilitate this growing awareness and initiative, the SAPS,
the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Directorate for
Special Prosecutions (the "Scorpions"), and the Department of
Home Affairs all have embraced training programs for their
staff, as recommended in the Action Plan (refs B and G).

Protection Services for Children

7. (U) The SAG financially supports shelters for children
suffering from abuse, but does not provide specialized
assistance for child prostitution victims. According to IOM,
police officers normally refer victims, including trafficking
victims, to local shelters. To improve coordination, IOM has
worked with South African NGOs to create a network of
shelters, financed largely by the government, in Cape Town,
Johannesburg, and Durban trained to assist women and children
who are trafficking victims (ref B). South Africa's gender
rights movement praises the SAG's commitment to helping women
and children, and this form of partnership between government
and civil society is a common strategy to enhance services
despite insufficient resources (ref F).

Public Awareness of Trafficking

8. (SBU) The SAG has enlisted the NGO Solo Mongolo to
incorporate a campaign on trafficking of women and children
into the Government's prestigious annual "Violence Against
Women and Children Campaign" that will be held between
November 25 and December 10 (ref C). This campaign is the
centerpiece of SAG media projects promoting gender and
children's rights, and the inclusion of trafficking signals
the Government's continued and growing commitment to raise
public awareness of the issue.

9. (U) Beginning in January 2006, the NPA's Sexual Offenses
and Community Affairs unit will launch an EU funded (6
million Euro) anti-trafficking project focused on conducting
public awareness campaigns. According to the EU project
document, the awareness campaign strategies, "will be adapted
to the cultural context and will be extended to other
countries in the region to prevent trafficking at its

10. (U) In addition to the upcoming Violence Against Women
and Children Campaign, government owned radio and TV.
stations have actively supported IOM's efforts to publicize
the trafficking issue (ref B). In one recent example, the
youth oriented talk show, Take 5, devoted a program to
trafficking in persons. The South Africa Broadcasting
Corporation broadcast this episode twice. Such support has
helped produce increased public awareness of South Africa's
trafficking problem among government officials, law
enforcement, local NGOs, and the general public. As a
result, IOM claims there is greater public understanding of
the difference between trafficking and smuggling, and there
has been a measurable increase in the use of IOM's hotline to
provide tips on possible cases (ref B).

Combating Fraud and Corruption

11. (U) The SAG continues to vigorously punish and prosecute
corruption, even in politically sensitive cases like that of
former Deputy President Jacob Zuma. The SAPS, under its
Corruption and Fraud Prevention Strategy, disciplined 461
officers between April 2004 and March 31st 2005 according to
its recently released Annual Report. Likewise, as part of
its new Minister's "turnaround strategy", the Department of
Home Affairs improved attempts to deal with corruption among
its officials. On July 18, Minister Nosiview Mapisa-Nqakula
announced that 80 officials had been charged with corruption,
and 66 senior officials were dismissed for misconduct since
April 2004.

Interviewing of Migrants

12. (SBU) IOM's training programs have enabled many
immigration and rural law enforcement and immigration
officials to identify and properly question trafficking
victims (ref B). During a July 2005 UNICEF conference in
Johannesburg, the Somali delegation was held at the airport
for part of the day because officials there were suspicious
that the children may have been trafficked. Although this
was a false alarm, the incident does illustrate a greater
awareness of potential trafficking victims. Unfortunately,
while IOM says local law enforcement's ability to question
migrants has improved, the lack of national coordination and
procedures on trafficking still often leads to deportation of
victims before they are able to give evidence in court. IOM
mentioned the case of police officers near Komati Port who
identified trafficked victims, but because they did not know
where to refer them to, deported these people.


13. (SBU) South Africa's anti-traficking efforts reflect the
government's increased awareness of the problem and
commitment to combat it. The lack of specific
anti-trafficking legislation and national procedures
continues to hamper law enforcement's efforts. However, the
government is actively moving these bills through the
legislative process, despite opposition by traditional
leaders. In the meantime, the SAG has compensated for this
lack of targeted legislation, and for its limited financial
and human resources, by working with the USG, EU, IOM, and
local NGOs. This enthusiastic embrace of assistance already
has improved South African law enforcement's ability to
investigate and prosecute traffickers under existing laws,
bolstered public awareness, and expanded the resources
provided to victims.

© Scoop Media

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