Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking, also known as Modern Slavery, is the fastest growing crime in the world, with more people in slavery today than ever before.

Global problem

  • An estimated 40.3 million people are in slavery today, including 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriages.
  • It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
  • 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery is children.
  • Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labour imposed by state authorities.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors

Source: Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage, Geneva, September 2017.

Human Trafficking is Big Business

  • Human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, according to the ILO report. The following is a breakdown of profits, by sector:
    • $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation
    • $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining, and utilities
    • $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
    • $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor
  • While only 19% of victims are trafficked for sex, sexual exploitation earns 66% of the global profits of human trafficking. The average annual profits generated by each woman in forced sexual servitude ($100,000) is estimated to be six times more than the average profits generated by each trafficking victim worldwide ($21,800), according to the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE).
  • OSCE studies show that sexual exploitation can yield a return on investment ranging from 100% to 1,000%, while an enslaved laborer can produce more than 50% profit even in less profitable markets (e.g., agricultural labor in India).
  • In the Netherlands, investigators were able to calculate the profit generated by two sex traffickers from a number of victims. One trafficker earned $18,148 per month from four victims (for a total of $127,036) while the second trafficker earned $295,786 in the 14 months that three women were sexually exploited according to the OSCE.
  • While sexual exploitation generates profits, forced labor saves costs. In one case, Chinese kitchen workers were paid $808 for a 78-hour work week in Germany. According to German law, a cook was entitled to earn $2,558 for a 39-hour work week according to the OSCE.

In South Africa

South Africa provides a fertile market for the services of trafficked persons from regional and extra-regional locations. Armed conflict and associated dislocation, political and economic upheaval, food insecurity, lack of education and employment opportunities, and the blight of the AIDS epidemic throughout Africa make South Africa a magnet that attracts migration from across the continent. Organized crime syndicates, local traffickers and refugees exploit the most vulnerable members of our population for the sex industry, forced labor, and organ harvesting. South Africa is also a transit and source country for the international market in the trafficking of humans. As a transportation hub, South Africa offers direct flights and shipping to Europe and Asia. The scale of growth of the traffic in human beings from Africa to Europe and the Middle East suggests that South Africans, as with many other African nationalities, are already feeding this transnational business. There is also evidence of internal trafficking.

By the end of 2018 South Africa was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List 

Read the full report here