DOCUMENTS

Gigaba's estimate of children trafficked highly dubious - Haniff Hoosen

DA MP says minister's figure of 30 000 just a thumb suck being used to justify his visa regulations

Min. Gigaba overstated child trafficking numbers to justify his visa regulations 

16 July 2015 

In a reply to a DA parliamentary question, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has dubiously claimed that approximately 30 000 children are being trafficked in or through South Africa annually.

This is the data that he and his Department have used to justify new visa regulations, including the unabridged birth certificate for minors entering South Africa. This is a desperate attempt to legitimize the need for unabridged birth certificates. 

Minister Gigaba denied the fabrication of the figures, yet the data collated to back up his claims in the reply is questionable. 

In his reply, Minister Gigaba said: “on average, the department visits three shelters per quarter. In order to identify victims, the Department obtains information from designated social workers at the shelters and conducts interviews with the identified victims to obtain information on why and how such victims came into the country.”

This is the description of nothing more than a thumb-suck figure.

Various child protection groups have said that while trafficking of minors is a concern there is no conclusive research showing the actual extent of the phenomenon in South Africa.

Minister Gigaba appears to be misleading South Africa, on a matter that is sensitive and delicate, for his own ends.

I will therefore be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Buoang Mashile, to summon Minister Gigaba to account to the Portfolio Committee on the figures and data collated by the DoHA that appears to be false and baseless.  

The DA strongly condemns the exploitation of minors and adults alike, in trafficking situations and others, but to use the figure of “30 000” when the reality is that only 23 cases of child trafficking have been uncovered in the past three years, is simply irresponsible. 

The unfortunate by-product of Minister Gigaba’s suspected deception is a distortion of the problem of child trafficking to save his own skin and legitimize Visa regulations that have been widely criticized domestically and internationally. 

It is of utmost importance that South Africa hears the truth. Minister Gigaba must come clean on these figures, state the true scope of the problem, and immediately suspend the new Visa regulations with a view to withdrawing them.

Text of the reply:

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO. 2380

DATE OF PUBLICATION: Friday, 19 June 2015

INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER 22 OF 2015

2380.   Mr M H Hoosen (DA) to ask the Minister of Home Affairs:

(1) With reference to child trafficking, what is the estimated number of minor children who have entered the country but have not been recorded as leaving the country in (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014 and from 1 January 2015 up to the latest specified date for which information is available;

(2) what is the source of the data provided;

(3) has his department ever conducted any studies into the rates of child trafficking in or out of the country? NW2745E

REPLY:

(1)(a-c) According to data extracted from the Enhanced Movement Control System (EMCS) on 19 June 2015 the total number of foreign minors who have arrived and not departed (Including both those whose permits expired and those who still have valid permits) are:

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

Grand Total

Arrivals

33 730

37 019

47 420

29 476

147645

Grand Total

33 730

37 019

47 420

29 476

147645

According to data extracted from the EMCS on 19 June 2015, the total number of foreign minors who have arrived and not departed and whose permits/visas have expired on the EMCS are:

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

Grand Total

Arrivals

31200

34116

42888

18739

126943

Grand Total

31200

34116

42888

18739

126943

The above persons may have obtained extensions of their permits that will only be reflected on the EMCS on their departure.

(2) The source is the EMCS currently operational at most Ports of Entry.

(3) The department is involved in a project whereby shelters that are accredited by the Department of Social Development and that assist victims of trafficking and smuggling are visited in order to obtain information on the victims that they assist and thus understand any possible trends in the trafficking of persons. On average, the department visits three (3) shelters per quarter. In order to identify victims, the Department obtains information from designated social workers at the shelters and conducts interviews with the identified victims to obtain information on why and how such victims came into the country. Where necessary, the department assists such victims with the process of repatriation.

ENDS

Statement issued by Haniff Hoosen MP, DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, July 16 2015