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OlOrisa_Olokun
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« on: June 27, 2004, 03:10:26 AM »

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Conference on human trafficking opens

JOHANNESBURG, 22 June (IRIN) - "I am young - but up here is
old," says an 11-year-old girl working as a prostitute in
Cape Town, pointing to her head - one of many images in hard-
hitting footage on the sex industry, screened at the opening
of a conference on human trafficking in South Africa on
Tuesday.

The three-day conference, 'The Next Steps to Path Breaking
Strategies in the Global Fight Against Sex Trafficking', is
sponsored by a global coalition of NGOs called the War
Against Trafficking Alliance and the South African National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The gathering will help to compile the agenda of a national
task team newly constituted to combat human trafficking in
South Africa, and is the fifth follow-up of a world summit
held in Washington last year.

South Africa is a destination for women and children from
Kenya, Latvia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Taiwan,
Thailand, Romania and Zambia, said US Congresswoman Linda
Smith, the founder of the global coalition, at the opening of
the conference.

Children are trafficked either for sexual exploitation or for
labour. Smith, quoting last year's US State Department
figures, said there were 2,000 children in debt bondage in
South Africa.

According to Interpol, sex traffickers earn an extimated US
$19 billion annually. "It is diffcult to put a figure to the
value of trade in Southern Africa, as we have only just begun
investigating it," Jonathan Martens of the Geneva-based NGO,
International Organisation for Migration (IOM), told IRIN.

A pimp in Cape Town, South Africa's tourism capital, who
supplies eight-to 11-year-olds to sex tourists mainly from
the US, Britain and Japan, commented in the film that
children are sometimes tied with barbed wire and told to
perform sexual acts on adults.

The footage was shot by the global coalition of NGOs.
According to the South Africa-based child rights' activist
organisation, Molo Songololo, 25 percent of prostitutes in
Cape Town are children.

While the film alleged that child prostitution in Cape Town
was run predominantly by a Nigerian syndicate, Smith said
Russian, Bulgarian and Chinese crime groups were other major
players in the human trafficking business in South Africa.

The country's attractive First World conditions - "clean
water, good schools for their children" - were luring
trafficking traders to the country, said Smith.

Senior state advocate Nolwandle Qaba of the NPA, who heads
the national trafficking task team, said they had
identified "six pillars of the South African counter-
trafficking strategy": "information; capacity-building and
development; victim support and integration; legislation and
policy; monitoring and evaluation; and liaison and
consultation".

The new task team, chaired by the NPA, comprises the
departments of home affairs, justice, social services and
labour, the organised crime and border police units of the
South African Police Service, the UN Office of Drugs and
Crime (UNODC), Molo Songololo and IOM.

None of the countries in Southern Africa have domestic
legislation outlawing human trafficking. Senior legal crime
expert in UNODC's Southern Africa office, Uglijesa Zvekic,
said the UN body would launch a regional project in September
to enable members of the Southern African Development
Community to implement the protocol of the UN Convention
against Transnational Organised Crime.

The legal instrument, which was adopted by the General
Assembly on 15 November 2000 and came into force on 25
December 2003, provides the first internationally agreed
definition of trafficking and requires countries to
criminalise such activity.

Through a series of workshops, Zvekic said, the project
would "advise on drafting and revising relevant legislation;
provide advice and assistance on establishing and
strengthening antitrafficking offices and units; and train
law enforcement offices, prosecutors and judges".

UNODC also planned to set up a programme in Mozambique next
year to prevent trafficking in human organs.
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