UN urges action on ‘scary’ levels of human trafficking

United Nations agencies urged governments in Southern Africa on Monday to draw

up legislation to combat frightening levels of human trafficking, saying action was vital ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

”None of the countries in Southern Africa has specific anti-human trafficking legislation in place,” Thomas Zindl-Cronin of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) told reporters in Johannesburg.

Specific legislation to tackle the issue was needed to help the law enforcement agencies get to grips with the situation.

”South Africa and Mozambique are more advanced than the rest of the region, but the capacity of the police and the judiciary to deal with the problem is low.”

With South Africa due to become the first country on the continent to host the World Cup, fears were expressed during the joint press conference about the numbers of foreign women who could be coerced into prostitution.

Hans-Petter Boe, regional representative of the International Organisation for Migration, said it was impossible to put figures on how many women could be smuggled into South Africa but admitted there were concerns.

”I can just say that there are very much concerns about major events such as these,” he said.

According to Dawie Bosch of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), research showed that ”human trafikking is alive and happening at rather scary scales” in the region.

A recent UN report raised fears in particular about the growing number of vulnerable children who had crossed into South African from Zimbabwe where an economic meltdown has led to about three million people leaving their homeland. – Sapa-AFP

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