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Harsh sentences proposed for human trafficking

The Justice Department says human traffickers should pay a R100 million fine or face life imprisonment.

The Justice Department says human traffickers should pay a R100 million fine or life imprisonment.

CAPE TOWN - People found guilty of human trafficking are likely to be fined as much as R100 million.

The proposed penalty forms part of the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Bill, which has been discussed in Parliament on Wednesday.

Justice Department officials explained to Members of Parliament (MPs) that stringent penalties are needed because of the seriousness of the offence.

A clause in the bill stipulates that the penalty for human trafficking is a R100 million fine or life imprisonment, or both.

It compels courts to impose life sentences, unless there are compelling circumstances which justify a lesser punishment.

The department's Laurence Bassett said there are no statistics on human trafficking because the problem has not been recognised as a crime under current laws.

He added by introducing legislation, the true extent of the issue will be revealed.