Of Nigerians, albinos, satanists and anecdotes: A critical review of the HSRC report on human trafficking

  • Chandré Gould Institute for Security Studies
  • Marlise Richter University of the Witwatersrand
  • Ingrid Palmery University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: human trafficking, South Africa, FIFA World Cup, soccer


The deluge of news articles about human trafficking in South Africa, and the media preoccupation with trafficking in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, could lead an observer to believe that South Africa is a 'hotbed' of human trafficking. Yet, there are no baseline data about the extent or nature of the problem. The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) released a research report in March this year that purports to provide 'the first comprehensive assessment of human trafficking in South Africa.' The report is beset with methodological problems and assumptions. It is based on very little original research. The authors of this review argue that it represents a missed opportunity to provide much needed information about human trafficking in South Africa and fuels sensationalism about human trafficking.

Author Biographies

Chandré Gould, Institute for Security Studies
Crime and Justice Programme
Marlise Richter, University of the Witwatersrand
Forced Migration Studies Programme
Ingrid Palmery, University of the Witwatersrand
Forced Migration Studies Programme
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Research articles