Rethinking Structural Mechanisms for Improving Rapid Identification of Transnational Child Victims of Trafficking in South Africa
Keywords:children, identification, South Africa, trafficking
Child trafficking is a multiple child rights violation that affects the lives of millions of children worldwide. However, the identification of victims of trafficking continues to be a challenge in the fight against trafficking, yet it is the first step towards recovery for victims. This article reflects the outcomes of a study that aimed to identify mechanisms for the rapid identification of victims of trafficking in South Africa. A qualitative approach was applied to get rich details from the study participants. Purposive sampling was used to select 32 study participants, including key informants and trafficked children, who were individually interviewed for the study. A thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Possible mechanisms suggested for improving the rapid identification of child victims of trafficking by the study participants included policy reforms, social mobilisation in communities, strengthening access to justice, and the development and training of practitioners. In the application of these mechanisms, a child-centric, victim-centred and time-sensitive approach needs to be adopted. The lack of rapid identification leads to invisibility of trafficked children that subsequently perpetuates the exploitation of children. To increase the identification and visibility of trafficked children and thereby improve psychosocial assistance, the walls of silence need to be broken down.
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