Human Trafficking, Labor Brokering, and Mining in Southern Africa: Responding to a Decentralized and Hidden Public Health Disaster


Steele, Sarah. 2013. “Human Trafficking, Labor Brokering, and Mining in Southern Africa: Responding to a Decentralized and Hidden Public Health Disaster.” International Journal of Health Services 43 (4): 665–80. doi:10.2190/HS.43.4.e.

Author: Sarah Steele


Many southern African economies are dependent on the extractive industries. These industries rely on low-cost labor, often supplied by migrants, typically acquired through labor brokers. Very little attention has so far been paid to trafficking of men into extractive industries or its connection with trafficked women in the region’s mining hubs. Recent reports suggest that labor brokering practices foster human trafficking, both by exposing migrant men to lack of pay and exploitative conditions and by creating male migratory patterns that generate demand for sex workers and associated trafficking of women and girls. While trafficking in persons violates human rights, and thus remains a priority issue globally, there is little or no evidence of an effective political response to mine-related trafficking in southern Africa. This article concludes with recommendations for legal and policy interventions, as well as an enhanced public health response, which if implemented would help reduce human trafficking toward mining sites.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Health, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Rights, Human Rights, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, Southern Africa

Year: 2013

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