Human trafficking and more especially child trafficking (for any purpose) is growing rapidly world wide and South Africa is no exception. What precipitated this post was an article in the Sunday times and news24. The article wrote a story about an ex policeman who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for child pornography and related crimes. His name is Andre Botha. The article can be read here
I then decided to look into this child pornography and see how pervasive it is or has become on the internet, since most of these crimes are being perpetrated on a computer or internet based device such as smart phones and other portable viewing devices. I found a site called purehope which has some stats on child porn and child trafficking, these statistics are alarming. Heres what it had to say on child trafficking: “1.2 million children are being trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking (UNICEF)
Every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation (UNICEF)
The average age of a trafficked victim is 12-14 years old (U.S. Department of Justice)
Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years (UNICEF)
The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion (http://www.crisisaid.org/ICAPDF/Trafficking/traffickstats.pdf%5D
Sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. The majority of victims are taken from such places as South and Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Central and South America, and moved to more developed ones, including Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. (http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking)
An estimated 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of these victims are runaway or thrown-away youths who live on the streets and become victims of prostitution. (http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking)
Porn Industry”….it would seem that this is out of control.
The same site had this to say on child porn, ” Incidents of child sexual exploitation have risen from 4,573 in 1998 to 112,083 in 2004, (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Reports of child exploitation up. USA Today Snapshots, 17 February, 2005)
Child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, and the content is becoming much worse. In 2008, Internet Watch Foundation found 1,536 individual child abuse domains. (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).
Of all known child abuse domains, 58 percent are housed in the United States (Internet Watch Foundation. Annual Report, 2008).
Child pornography has become a $3 billion annual industry (Top Ten Reviews, 2005).”
I found this report interesting but also very scary. I searched around a bit and found an interesting article from a south african perspective, “Trafficking in children in South Africa: An analysis of pending legislation” by Susan S. Kreston Professor and Research Fellow, Department of Criminal and Medical Law, University of the Free State. The article can be read here. The article centres around legislation designed to combat child trafficking in south africa from the perspective of child trafficking for the purposes of sexual expoitation, it includes a backround on the south african situation and commentary on legislation designed to combat human and child trafficking, these include: The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, known as the Palermo Protocol, Article 3; Children’s Act; Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill (B50B/2003) of 2006; Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill; Children’s Act and Sexual Offenses Amendment Bill; Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill. The professor critiques these act and bills and aims to strike a balance between what we have, what we need, and how to get there. We as south africans need to be aware and vigilant of such behaviour, for one day it may be one of our own ripped from us.
There is one striking anomaly that cannot be ignored. That being the involvement of law enforcement in these illegal activities. I say this because it is simply impossible for any criminal organisation to traffic people anywhere without the help of customs officials, police officials or even specialised law enforcement agencies. An example: If A wants to transport B (the child) between countries, at some point hes going to come into contact with customs officials or police or some other law enforcement agency. How do they go through undetected every time? its simply not possible unless you have a cohort (usually paid) working for you. Also there is the fact that many of these crimes go unreported, because to put it bluntly the kids or people who have been abducted dont trust the police. To be honest i dont trust the police either. If our chief of police (Jacky selebi) can be convicted of corruption then im sure we have many other candidates in the force. Eg: “Poverty, however, neither explains nor justifies adults trafficking in children, as most poor children’s families do not traffic their children. As one commentator states: Sex trafficking isn’t a poverty issue but a law enforcement issue. You can only carry out this trade at a significant level with the cooperation of local law enforcement. In the developing world, the police are not seen as a solution for anything. You don’t run to the police, you run from the police.” this im afraid is probably true.,
Prevention is better than cure, the FBI has a link to this site, missingkids, on this page you will find helpful advice on how to protect your kids and educate them on issues including: safety, what to do’s, child id and so on. The FBI helped in production of this site and gave advice on how to prevent child abduction and what children may be at risk to these types of crimes.
Be safe this xmas.
Please note that some of the bills referred to above have now become statute.