South Africa’s New Human Rights Law

South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, has taken a step towards ensuring human security for all South African citizens by signing the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill into law. This statute is the first of its kind to combat human trafficking completely and comprehensively. The law ensures both severe consequences for those convicted of human trafficking while ensuring compensations of the victims.

According to spokesperson Mac Maharaj, prior to the creation of this legislation, the laws concerning trafficking were fragmented and limited. There were statutes concerning trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation as well as statutes concerning the trafficking of children. However, there was no blanket statute to deal with human trafficking as a whole. This new law will accomplish that task while broadening the offenses that can be punishable under the name of human trafficking.

The new law also creates offenses such as debt bondage, possessing, destroying or tampering with travel documents, and using the services of victims of trafficking. The consequence of violating any part of this new legislation could lead to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

In all, this new legislation has created specific consequences for actions related to human trafficking. Previously vague and fragmented statutes have been altered and unified in order to ensure the human security of all South African peoples.

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