Cablegate: Tip Interim Assessment: Sag Gaining Momentum

DE RUEHSA #2454/01 3111404
R 061404Z NOV 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 110849


1. To combat trafficking in persons (TIP), South Africa is
active across multiple fronts -- from legislation and
prosecution, to training and development of response
procedures, to victims' support and public awareness
campaigns. While passage of a draft anti-TIP law remains the
key hurdle to mobilizing a comprehensive effort, in the
meantime other interim legislation is used to bring offenders
to trial. In anticipation of TIP legislation, the IOM and
SAG are conducting workshops nationwide for already over
1,500 social workers, government officials, law enforcement
officers, and members of the public to improve victim
identification and increase assistance referrals. Training
is intended to be rolled out to all SAG branches within 18
months. Publicity campaigns are already yielding dramatic
increases in volumes of cases referred to IOM helplines. End

TIP Bill Pending; Other Laws in Use

2. Comprehensive anti-TIP legislation remains in draft, but
there are encouraging developments on the legal front. The
Law Reform Commission completed its text of the TIP Bill,
with consultations within government conducted and
incorporated into the text. The draft was submitted to the
newly appointed Minister of Justice, M.E. Surty, who has
named TIP as his personal priority. Parliament's agenda is
full for 2008, and its work in 2009 will be disrupted by
elections and ensuing midyear changeovers, but with the MoJ's
strong backing we are hopeful the TIP bill will be voted on
next year. The Sexual Offences Act, with its interim
provisions against TIP for sexual exploitation, came into
force in December 2007, with a first TIP-related prosecution
opened in May 2008. It joins the Prevention of Organized
Crime Act (POCA) used against trafficking syndicates. Draft
regulations for the Children's Act of 2005 were opened to
public comment in June. While these laws can be applied to
various aspects of TIP offenses, official crime statistics
will not record prosecutions as TIP cases until the formal
TIP law provides the framework to do so.

Workshops Aid Recognition and Referrals

3. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is spearheading
SAG efforts on TIP, with support from the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) and funding from the
European Union. Even while awaiting a TIP law, the NPA and
IOM tell us there is a new energy and momentum in anti-TIP
activity this year. From July 2007 to August 2008 the IOM
conducted 15 workshops to train 398 social workers mainly
from the Department of Social Development, which aims to
develop case management guidelines by March 2009. Foreign
Affairs has asked for similar training for its consular
officers abroad. Since July 2008 IOM has trained 679 SAG
officials, from Social Development (155), law enforcement
(186 - mainly police and prosecutors), border officers (283),
and Health (55), as well as 32 media professionals. SAG
workshops will continue through 2009, emphasizing coordinated
responses across government agencies, NGOs, and the public.
After an intensive five-day IOM course, 58 representatives of
NGOs and church charities were certified as TIP trainers by
QNGOs and church charities were certified as TIP trainers by
conducting onward two-day workshops in their provinces. A
total of 30 awareness-raising workshops across all nine
provinces drew 573 community participants. IOM's curriculum
is being reviewed for SAG accreditation and institutionalized
roll-out across the SAG within 18 months.

4. TIP awareness training has improved recognition of
trafficking victims, boosted referrals of cases to
authorities, and improved care and attention to victims.
Before this year, according to IOM, hotline calls came almost
exclusively from alert NGOs, while police tended to arrest
TIP victims, charge them with crimes (like prostitution), and
send them home. Now as social workers, police, and border
officials are trained to recognize signs of trafficking,
referrals are coming from a wide array of sources. The

PRETORIA 00002454 002 OF 002

Children's Act explicitly requires referral of suspected
child trafficking cases to designated social workers, who
must investigate and report the cases to children's courts.
Since January 2004 the IOM has directly assisted 252 TIP
victims, of which the largest groups were Thai (140),
Congolese (35), South African (22), Indian (12), and Chinese
(11). Assistance to victims of sexual exploitation is
coordinated with the NPA's Sexual Offences and Community
Affairs (SOCA) unit, whose shelters provide health and
justice services to women victims of rape and sexual assault.

Awareness Campaigns Expanding

5. The SAG, IOM, and NGOs continue to expand
awareness-raising activities. More than 85,000
countertrafficking posters and brochures in six languages
were distributed in local towns during IOM's training
workshops, publicizing the IOM's toll-free helpline. A TV ad
aired in September drew 576 referral calls, five times the
usual volume. A Catholic nuns' group has drafted a school
curriculum. In inner city areas of Johannesburg, local NGO
Khulisa has educated communities to detect trafficking, and
it is creating "referral map" posters for citizens to contact
authorities. The new Justice Minister has proposed making
TIP a central issue in the next annual "16 Days of Activism"
campaign, with the busy transport route between Maputo and
Koomatiport a candidate for an anti-TIP roadshow. A newly
released IOM survey on domestic TIP, and a regional one soon
to be launched, will further raise public awareness of the
issue and provide authorities with useful information on TIP
flows, patterns, and modus operandi. While there is no
anti-TIP plan specific to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the event
is very much on the minds of border officials and other
front-line government workers, who raise the issue for
discussion in IOM workshops. Legalization of prostitution
for 2010 is not a popular idea among the public, as far as we
can assess.


© Scoop Media

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