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Human Trafficking in Africa presented at Cambridge Counter Trafficking Summer School
2016-08-22

Description: Beatri Kruger Tags: Beatri Kruger

Prof Beatri Kruger

The Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking (CCARHT) presented the Counter Trafficking Summer School programme from 31 July to 6 August 2016 in Cambridge, England. The Summer School was based on the 2020MDS vision for graduates and young professionals in law, finance, public policy and development.

 During the week-long programme, Prof Beatri Kruger, Adjunct Professor in Public Law at the University of the Free State and renowned researcher in human trafficking in South Africa, presented via Skype, some of the burning issues of human trafficking and developments in the Africa region. Her perspectives come at a crucial time in the development of research in the field, especially concerning practices that are unique to Africa and Southern Africa in particular.

Her presentation titled: Celebrations and challenges en route to #2020HTvision: Southern Africa perspective explores the significant progress made by African countries in implementing the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) legislations with some convictions and action plans to combat this heinous crime. In her lecture, Prof Kruger shared some of the controls used by traffickers over their victims.   She explained that these controls range from violence to financial and psychological measures. A strong psychological control method is the use of traditional rituals, termed “Juju” or witchcraft, by Nigerian traffickers, where fear is instilled in the victim to pledge loyalty to their captors.  Traffickers are generally known to also use drugs and alcohol to control victims.

Prof Kruger indicated that there is a significant number of human trafficking cases recorded in South Africa. However her particular focus is on the regional tradition of Ukuthwala. This tradition was  seen as a romantic game to expedite marriage negotiations, but recently the tradition is often abused to traffic young girls into forced marriages. 

She mentioned that some countries in Africa such as Zambia have made significant progress with enforcing laws that criminalise the use of traditions violating human rights. Prof Kruger presented her research to various other researchers and students from regions across the globe, including Asia, the Middle East, America and Europe.  This research will be published in the South African Review of Sociology in the coming months and in an international handbook on human trafficking in 2017.

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