Concern around human trafficking in South Africa started in the early 2000s, coinciding with the ratification of the Palermo Protocol and passing of the U.S.’s Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act, which mandates the Department of State to annually released a trafficking report which ranks countries’ responses to trafficking. Within this global context, South Africa became known as a ‘source, transit, and destination’ country for victims of trafficking and, under increasing pressure, began to work towards passing national anti-trafficking legislation.
The aim of this project was to examine the policy process behind the development and passing of this Act as a way of better understanding how policy is made and influenced in South Africa. As such, the objectives of the research were to document the policy process leading to the Act and map out the key policy actors and mechanisms shaping the policy framework.
As little is known about how policy is made in South Africa, this project was exploratory in nature. Using the minutes of parliamentary discussions, stakeholder mapping, and key informant interviews, the data from which was all analyzed using the ‘3-I’ framework and thematic content analysis, the authors attempted to map out the various roles played by key actors and organizations in influencing the Trafficking in Persons Act. From their findings it is clear that the policy process in South Africa is shaped by a combination of international and local pressures. Whilst research is valued in the policy process, it is not actively sought after as policy makers rely on a combination of popular narrative, local and international pressures, and research when making decisions.
This paper is published under the Migrating out of Poverty programme, which is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Ingrid Palmary and Thea de Gruchy. Changing Policy: Lessons from the Trafficking in Persons Act (2013) in South Africa. Migrating out of Poverty RPC Working Paper No. 39. Migrating out of Poverty Consortium, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK (2016) 48p
Published 1 September 2016