Home Affairs denies fabricating child trafficking figures

The dept denies fabricating numbers to push for the implementation of new visa laws.

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department has dismissed claims that it fabricated figures on child trafficking to push for the implementation of its new visa laws.

The department has stated an annual figure of around 30,000 children trafficked through South Africa.

But a report by the Times newspaper claims a Parliamentary reply has revealed only 23 cases of child trafficking in the last three years.

The department said accusations about fabricated numbers are attempts to discredit the purpose of its new visa regulations.

The department's Mayihlome Tshwete said, "People continue the desperation to try and move attention behind the real intentions of the new visa regulations."

Tshwete said while figures presented on child trafficking have varied, the need to protect minors remain a top priority."

"Even if they're 10 children or five children being smuggled, abducted or trafficked out of or into South Africa, they're five or 10 too many."

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