The globalisation of trafficking and its impact on the South African counter-trafficking legislation

Ingrid Palmary, Thea de Gruchy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article was prompted by emerging and highly politicised debates in South Africa over the role of ‘foreign influence’ in policy-making. Whilst popular debates on this issue are often over simplified, it nevertheless seemed a relevant topic for migration policy-making given its cross-national focus. In this article, we therefore consider what influenced the development of South Africa’s 2013 Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act (TiP Act) as just one example of migration policy-making. Using qualitative methods, we map the influences on the South African TiP Act, and highlight how these shaped the passing of the Act, as well as the form that it took. We describe three pathways of international influence that shaped and constrained the possibilities for the Act: the global system for the governance of trafficking, the globalisation of knowledge around trafficking, and the nature of diplomatic relations. Exploring these pathways, we interrogate and unpack the idea that policy-making takes place in isolation and exclusively at a national level. Instead, this article illustrates how policy-making around issues of trafficking, and migration, takes place amidst complex and unequal global relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-68
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • South Africa
  • Trafficking Victims Protection Act
  • Trafficking in Persons
  • migration
  • modern day slavery
  • policy-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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