Human trafficking is one of the most under reported issues in South Africa and across the world, with South Africa serving as a major source, transit and destination country for trafficked women and children.
A new service, launched this month by leading content and technology solutions provider, LexisNexis South Africa, aims to assist multiple charities and government agencies involved in anti-human trafficking initiatives to monitor and drive the agenda, as well as research and track cases reported by the media.
The LexisNexis Human Trafficking Awareness (HTA) Index™ uses this global company’s respected Nexis® database, an extensive, searchable database of news articles, to analyse the volume of news related to human trafficking. This helps to highlight emerging trends and patterns of awareness within and across national borders.
Billy Last, chief executive officer of LexisNexis South Africa said: “Human trafficking is a largely hidden crime and therefore hard to quantify, but this tool aims to assist in tracking the prominence of this topic in the national consciousness of different areas of South Africa over time.
“It can show how concerned countries, regions and citizens are about human trafficking, so that activists, non-government organisations (NGOs), the South African Police Services (SAPS) and government stakeholders involved in anti-trafficking across the country, can gain insight into where to focus education, fund-raising, and investment. The HTA Index has proven to be a valuable tool in the United Kingdom and we are excited about the promise it has for South Africa.”
He said the index was an offshoot of LexisNexis’s commitment to the Rule of Law, the concept that a functioning society needs an accessible, independent and transparent legal system and a set of laws that everyone, including the government, follows.
“Without the Rule of Law, it becomes easy for the vulnerable or destitute to be affected by crimes such as human trafficking,” he added.
Dr Monique Emser, who analysed the data and wrote the first comprehensive report around data sourced from the HTA Index over a 24 month period from August 2011 to August 2013, is a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Pornography and Brothels Task Team. She said the HTA Index was the first tool to provide a valuable national research perspective on human trafficking cases in South Africa.
“This will allow activists within the field to track cases over time, as well as to gauge public perception and debates around the issue of human trafficking and its links to other crimes. It provides a valuable overview of how human trafficking is framed, reported and addressed in the South African context. The data provided by the index also highlights the changing modus operandi of perpetrators, trafficking routes, sites of exploitation and categories of victims. The index will provide useful information that will enable counter-trafficking practitioners to focus their efforts on these emerging trends, as well as identify any gaps in reporting or interventions,” said Emser.
The Human Trafficking Awareness Index will be published on a quarterly basis and will be freely accessible on the LexisNexis Rule of Law microsite at www.lexisnexis.co.za/ruleoflaw . This microsite is a comprehensive information centre where role players can also download the the country’s first ever Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation Compendium which now also includes the new Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act (TIP Act) which is due to be signed into law.
View the LexisNexis Human Trafficking Index in PDF
About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional (www.lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organisations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content, to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organisations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. Part of Reed Elsevier, LexisNexis Legal & Professional serves customers in more than 100 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide.
In South Africa, LexisNexis’s (www.lexisnexis.co.za) unique combination of Butterworths authoritative content and powerful online research offers an extensive range of print and online research solutions for professionals, government, business and students. In addition, with professional seminars, practical training, safety, health and environment compliance and online access to public record information, LexisNexis helps customers reach decisions confidently.
In July 2012, investment firm Tsiya Group, chaired by Fani Titi, acquired a minority interest in LexisNexis® South Africa. Tsiya is a privately owned investment group that was established in 2008 and focuses on acquiring interests in unlisted businesses. The company has a particular interest in the media and information industry and is currently invested in two radio stations, namely Heart FM (which broadcasts in the Western Cape) and Gagasi FM (which broadcasts in KwaZulu Natal).