Are You A Slave? Almost 250 000 South Africans Are

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The 2016 Global Slavery Index which presented a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery, ranked South Africa the 28th nation with most of the population living in modern slavery.

It estimated that 248,700 South Africans are among the 45.8 million people who are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world.

The estimation is based on a national representative survey undertaken in 2015.

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The random-sampled survey conducted in Afrikaans, English, Sotho, Zulu, and Xhosa languages evaluated instances of forced marriage and forced labor across the country.

It found that 103,461 victims of modern slavery in South Africa are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. The findings stated that:

“Though the purchasing of sex is criminalized, the sex industry thrives on the street and in brothels and private residences.

South African women, women from neighboring states and Thai, Chinese, Russian and Brazilian women have been identified as victims of commercial sexual exploitation in South Africa.

South African women have also been trafficked abroad, predominantly to Europe. Throughout 2015…Hawks continued to identify Nigerian sex trafficking syndicates operating between the North West, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.



The 2016 Global Slavery Index as well revealed that about 10,631 women are victims of forced marriage in South Africa.

As related, “…the persistence of some traditional practices have been…fueling early and forced marriages. ‘Ukuthwala’, meaning ‘to carry’ in isiXhosa and isiZulu, is a customary practice used to bypass extensive and lengthy marriage rituals.

It often involves the kidnapping and rape of a girl or young woman by a man or group of men with the intention of compelling the girl or young woman’s family to endorse marriage negotiations.

…Today, girls as young as 12 are abducted and raped, often by significantly older men, and routinely exposed to HIV/AIDS transmission.”

Also, the study discovered that more than 10,000 workers are subject to forced labor in Mzansi.

“Both women and children are employed as domestic workers in South Africa. The legacy of apartheid, leaving many African and coloured women without education, has created a labor pool of unskilled workers who are funneled into low-paying domestic work,” said the report. 

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Commenting on Child Labor, the 2016 Global Slavery Index findings asserted that Children in South Africa are being trafficked from rural to urban areas, including to Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg to labor.

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