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PRIVATE MEMBERS LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL AND SPECIAL PETITIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 April 2003
CAMERER'S DRAFT BILL TO AMEND THE CHILD CARE ACT: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr PAC Hendrikse (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Ms Camerer's Memorandum to Amend the Child Care Act (Appendix 1)
Explanatory Memorandum on the Legislative Proposal (Appendix 1)
Draft Bill to Amend the Child Care Act, 1983 (Appendix 3)
Child Care Act, Act 74 of 1983
Letter from Linda Steenkamp, Pensions-Administrator, regarding Mr Brown's Petition
Committee's Progress Report (Appendix 4)
The Committee was briefed by Ms S Camerer (DP) on her proposed amendment to the Child Care Act, 1983, to render trafficking in children a criminal offence. The Committee noted that the proposal might be pre-empting the work of the Social Development Department, who would soon present the Sexual Offences Bill, which would broadly cover Ms Camerer's concerns. However, it was acknowledged that it would be a while before the Sexual Offences Bill would be passed into law. Ms Camerer's proposed Bill would be referred to a relevant parliamentary Committee for discussion. It was recommended that the Ministers of Labour, Safety and Security and Minister in the President's Office also be consulted.
Ms Camerer's Memorandum to Amend the Child Care Act
Ms Camerer (DP) thanked the Committee for affording her an opportunity to make her presentation. She was approached by the National Council of Women to make a petition which would make it a crime to traffic with children. After conducting her own research on the matter, she was startled to discover that there are several young girls in South Africa who are being lured into prostitution for only R800. Furthermore the research revealed that the majority of street workers in South Africa are children as there are more than 28 0000 children working as prostitute in the country. In terms of Section 28(1)(d) of the Constitution, Act 108 of 1996, all children have the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. The existing laws are inadequate to protect the children and she therefore proposed that an amendment should be inserted in the provisions of the Child Care Act, which would make it a criminal offence to traffic with children. Lastly, she appealed to the Committee to see this matter as urgent and to avoid delays. The aim is to apprehend both the perpetrators and bystanders, as South Africa is one of the signatories to various international treaties protecting the rights of both the women and children's rights.
The Chair asked whether Ms Camerer considered the provisions of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Act as not wide enough to cover her concern.
Ms Camerer responded in the negative and noted that she is proposing an alternative definition which would not only cover prostitution but also other unjust acts such as child slavery, servitude and others.
Ms G Mahlangu (ANC) commended Ms Camerer on her initiative and further noted that the concerns raised are in line with the general concerns of most developing countries. She agreed with her that the Child Care Act is indeed silent on this matter. It is only through proposals of this nature that assistance can be provided to the SAPS in their investigation process. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child South Africa is required by Article 34 to enact national legislation, which would ensure that children are protected from prostitution and trafficking. Taking into account the importance of the proposal as it looked beyond the perpetrators and therefore also involved those who took part or are aware of the crime, she proposed that it should be used as the prerequisite for joining the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Mr M Da Camara (DA) said that this proposal might be pre-empting the work of the Social Development Department, since there is a Sexual Offences Bill forthcoming, which would definitely cater for the concerns raised by Ms Camerer in the broader sense. However, he acknowledged that that particular Bill might, due to its volume, take a long time before being passed.
Ms Camerer concurred that although the Sexual Offences Act might be able to address the matter it might take a long time before the Bill becomes the law. She therefore requested Members to appreciate and understand the importance and urgency of her proposal.
The Chair asked why Ms Camerer has limited her proposal only to children and left out the plight of the women.
Ms Camerer acknowledged that the existing legislation gives little protection to women when it comes to this matter. She hoped the forthcoming Sexual Offences Act would take up this issue and thus ensure that women are also protected against trafficking since they are the most vulnerable groups in the society.
The Chair noted that the Committee agreed on the importance and the urgency involved of the matter and thus proposed that it should be referred to the Social Development and Justice Portfolio Committees.
Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) concurred with the Chair's proposal. However, as the issue is child labour or servitude the Ministers of Labour, Safety and Security and Minister in the President's Office should also be consulted. He said that that is very importance since the State President would also be addressing the International Labour Organisation (ILO) during the course of the year.
The Chair noted that the Committee concurred with the prepositions and thanked Ms Camerer for her presentation.
The meeting was adjourned.
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL ON TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN: MEMORANDUM IN TERMS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY RULE 234(1)
1.. The object of this legislative proposal is to make the trafficking in children a specific criminal offence.
2.. Trafficking in human beings for sexual or other exploitation is an abhorrent modern-day form of slavery. There is ample evidence that this phenomenon is one of the fastest growing areas of international criminal activity. Those trafficked are mostly women and children.
3.. Research conducted by the United Nations, Molo Songololo and others indicates that trafficking in children for sexual and other purposes is on the increase in South Africa. Furthermore, the country is increasingly becoming an established destination and transit point for international trafficking in children. Evidence is that the trade in children is often linked to illegal trade in drugs and weapons.
4.. Children in South African have the constitutionally guaranteed right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation, and Parliament has the obligation, rooted in the Constitution, to adopt legislative measures to protect that right. Existing legislation does not provide children with adequate protection against the evil of trafficking, and in fact does not specifically prohibit trafficking.
5.. The South African Law Commission has recently looked at the problem of trafficking, and in its Discussion Paper 103 on the Review of the Child Care Act Project the Commission recommends that a provision prohibiting the trafficking of children be included in a new comprehensive children's statute. However, since considerable time will no doubt elapse before such a statute is enacted by Parliament, and since effective and expeditious measures are urgently needed to combat trafficking, it is proposed that in the meantime the Child Care Act, 1983, be amended to provide the necessary protection to children.
6.. Particulars of the proposed legislation are set out in the attached draft bill. The proposals should be read with the existing provisions of the Child Care Act, 1983, in particular section 50A, which deals with the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
7.. The proposed legislation will have no financial implications for the state.
EXPLANATORY NOTES ON THE LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL ON TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN
MEMORANDUM IN TERMS OF NA RULE 234(1)
Shocking reports that young girls can be bought for as little as R800,00, should serve as a wake-up call for the South African public.
According to SAPS statistics, it is estimated that there are over 28 000 child prostitutes in South Africa. The SAPS dealt with 38 000 cases of child prostitution in 1998 while 500 of Cape Town's 2 000 street sex workers are believed to be children.
There are warnings that child trafficking has become the third-largest profit-making criminal enterprise after drugs and gunrunning, earning billions of dollars every year. South Africa's 17 million children make up 44% of the population, and more than 60% of these live in poverty. Poverty among black children is very high and it is estimated that, despite child labour being illegal, more than 400 000 children work in South Africa, half of them under the age of 14. These children are extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
The object of this legislative proposal is to make trafficking in children a specific criminal offense. In terms of our Constitution South African children have the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation and the Government has the obligation to protect those rights. It is submitted that existing legislation is inadequate to afford that protection.
It is suggested that the Child Care Act be amended at this stage. Because of the long delay with a new Sexual Offenses Act the growing problem of trafficking in children can be addressed through this amendment. The South African Law Commission had recommended that the new draft Sexual Offenses Bill include provisions outlawing such trafficking in women and children but this has apparently not been included in the draft legislation. It is unclear when the Sexual Offenses Bill will come to Parliament.
In order to effectively combat trafficking a specific crime must be created, which currently does not exist in our law. SAPS spokespeople have recently made this point on several occasions. There is no specific legislation dedicated to trafficking, although South Africa is a signatory to international instruments outlawing trafficking in women and children. The Private Members' Legislation should include a clear definition of trafficking.
The proposed legislation will have no financial implications for the State.
SHEILA CAMERER, MP
GENERAL EXPLANATORY NOTE:
Words underlined with a solid line indicate insertions in existing enactments
To amend the Child Care Act, 1983, so as to criminalise the trafficking in children; and to provide for incidental matters.
BE IT ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, as follows:-
Amendment of section 1 of Act 74 of 1983
1. Section 1 of the Child Care Act, 1983, is hereby amended-
(a) by the insertion, after the definition of "district" of the following definition:
"'exploitation' includes prostitution, pornography, forced labour or services, slavery and servitude." and
(b) by the insertion, after the definition of "this Act" of the following definition:
"'traffickinq' means any act involving the recruitment, procurement. capture, removal, transportation, harbouring sale, disposal or receipt of a child for the purposes of exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation,."
Insertion of section 5IA in Act 74 of 1983
2. The following section is hereby inserted in the Child Care Act, 1983, after section 51:
"Trafficking in children
51A. (1) Any person who participates or is involved in the trafficking in children shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(2) Any person who has any knowledge or information of the occurrence of trafficking in children and who, within a reasonable time of gaining such knowledge or information, fails to report such occurrence at a police station, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment".
STANDING COMMITTEE ON PRIVATE MEMBERS' LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND SPECIAL PETITIONS PROGRESS REPORT
1. Mr B D Brown
The Department of Finance has advised that Mr Brown is receiving a 12 and a half increase on his pension. The Committee deemed it unnecessary to proceed with the matter.
A report of the Committee on the matter has been tabled to the National Assembly. The report appeared on the ATC of Friday, 11 April 2003.
2. Mrs M Botha
The Committee has recommended that Mrs Botha's petition be acceded to.
The National Assembly adopted the Committee's recommendation in November 2002.
3. Mr G C Clarke
The Committee has recommended that Mr. Clarke's petition be acceded to.
The National Assembly adopted the report in March 2003.
The Committee has dealt with all the petitions before it and it has no other petitions.
1. Medical Schemes Amendment Bill (Mr B G Bell)
The matter has been referred to the following:
I. The Portfolio Committee on Labour
II. The Department of Labour
There have not been any responses to date.
Mr Bell was invited to brief the Committee on the 19th of March 2003, he was however not available.
2. Patents Amendment Bill (Mrs S V Kalyan)
The matter has been referred to the following:
I. The Portfolio Committee on Health
II. The Department of Health
III. The Labour Ministry
No responses have been received to date.
The Department of Health contacted the Committee Secretary and asked for another copy of the Bill.
Mrs Kalyan was invited to brief the Committee on the 5th of March 2003 and she availed herself.
3. Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Amendment Bill (Mr D H M Gibson)
Mr Gibson was invited to brief the Committee on the 16th of April 2003, his office has however indicated that he would not be able to attend the briefing.
Copies of the Bill have been circulated to Chief Whips for comment.
4. Pardon Investigation Procedure Bill (Mr A J Leon)
The matter was referred to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development and a response was received from Minister Maduna's office.
Mr Leon was invited to brief the Committee on the 2nd of April 2003, his office sent a letter of apology to the Committee Secretary, stating that Mr. Leon would not be able to attend the meeting.
5. Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill (Mrs J A Semple)
Mrs Semple was invited to brief the Committee on the 5th of March 2003 and she availed herself.
The matter was referred to the Department of Housing and the Department of Land Affairs. No response was received from the Department of Land Affairs. The Committee Secretary wrote another letter to the Department of Land Affairs. The Committee Secretary again telephoned the Department.
To date there has not been any response from the Department.
The Department of Housing indicated, in its response, that the Committee has to halt its proceedings with the Bill, since the Department was drafting similar legislation.
A letter, explaining these developments, was forwarded to Mrs Semple
6. Child Care Amendment Bill (re Trafficking in Children) (Mrs S M Camerer)
Mrs Camerer has been invited to brief the Committee on the 16th of April 2003. She has confirmed that she will be available.
Information on the overseas trips has been forwarded to Ms F Madikizela, Australia Desk, Department of Foreign Affairs. Ms Madikizela has indicated that the information was forwarded to our mission in
A response is still awaited in this regard.
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