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South African officials turning blind eye to human trafficking, bishops’ spokesman says

July 19, 2017

The priest who serves as the South African bishops’ liaison to parliament said that the nation’s culture of corruption allows human trafficking to go unpunished.

Commenting on a US State Department report on human trafficking—which noted that the South African government “did not prosecute or convict any labor traffickers in 2016”—Father Peter-John Pearson said on July 18 that “as with many other areas of the South African reality, the policies and legislation are excellent but the follow up and the political will to implement legislation is seriously wanting.”

“Again, as seems to be endemic in South Africa, the culture of corruption short-circuits proper investigations and bypasses officials who might be complicit in human trafficking offences,” Father Pearson continued, adding:

It is also true that male labor trafficking victims seem to slip through many nets and are therefore not as likely to be tested for trafficking indicators. It has also been noted before in several quarters that the South African government has done very little, if anything, to reduce the demand for commercial sex or forced labor.

 
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