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SA Human Trafficking Thrives Despite Covid-19, Says Interpol

Women protest against human trafficking in Durban.

South Africa, Cape Town – According to IOL, Human trafficking in South Africa and the rest of the continent is continuing non-stop despite the coronavirus, resulting in hundreds of victims unable to get assistance, according to Interpol.

South Africa serves as the transit and destination point for human trafficking.

“Human trafficking, whether for sexual or labour exploitation, is already complex to detect in ‘normal’ times. The novel coronavirus pandemic has only pushed human trafficking deeper into the dark and its victims further from possible detection and assistance,” said Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

According to Mohamed Daghar, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, human trafficking routes in Africa are as complex as the trade itself.

He said In West Africa, countries serve as a source, transit, and destination for trafficked victims.

While in the East African region, women are mostly trafficked for prostitution in the Gulf States. Kenya serves as a source, transit, and destination country for the trafficking of young girls and women to and from Europe.

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All countries in the northern region of Africa serve as a source, transit and destination countries for trade in human commodity.

It is estimated that about 9.24 million individuals are enslaved in all of Africa, making up 23% of the total global enslaved population.

According to the 2019 ENACT Organised Crime Index, human trafficking is also prevalent in Libya, Sudan, Nigeria Eritrea, and DRC. It is less prevalent in Sao Tome and Principe, Mauritius, Cabo Verde, Namibia and Lesotho

Daghar says that the following smuggling and trafficking routes currently exist in Africa ;

– Eastern Route – from the Horn to Yemen and possibly onwards to Saudi Arabia.

– Southern Route – from the Horn of Africa to South Africa with Kenya as a transit point.

– Sinai Route – from the Horn to Israel through Egypt.

– Northern Route from both the Horn of Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and the Sahel to Europe.

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