The role of the military in combating human trafficking: a South African perspective

  • Nina Mollema


Human trafficking is a complex and diverse crime affecting both individuals and countries across the world. As a significant facet of transnational organised crime and one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises globally, human trafficking was ranked as the second most profitable crime around the world in 2015, making it the fastest-growing source of revenue for organised criminal operations internationally. In 2015, South Africa implemented comprehensive antitrafficking legislation. Before such legislation was enacted, the South African government also ratified several international and regional human rights instruments in terms of which specific duties are imposed upon the state to combat and punish the crime effectively, including the protection of the rights of victims. The focus of the study on which this article reports, is the desired role of the military in combating human trafficking in South Africa. In 2004, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) adopted a policy on combating trafficking in human beings. The policy sets out various strategies for ensuring regional cooperation in combating human trafficking. It is suggested that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) take the initiative in formulating a similar policy in order to effect better co-operation amongst nation states in Africa, especially in the southern region of Africa, to combat human trafficking. In order to address the role of the SANDF in the fight against human trafficking meaningfully and to develop evidence-based strategies and policies, regional coordination in combating trafficking is paramount. The article examines current legislation, instruments and strategies as regards human trafficking in order to make recommendations for countertrafficking policy standards and best practices for the SANDF.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0020
print ISSN: 1022-8136