Trafficking As a Human Rights Violation: Is South Africa’s Curriculum Stuck in a Traffick Jam?

Petro du Preez, Shan Simmonds


Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and is often collectively referred to as a human rights violation.However, human trafficking is more complex than this suggests as this article attempts to demonstrate. It begins bydescribing the landscape of international trends in human trafficking, with particular attention to child trafficking. Next,national trends in South African legislation and education are outlined. It then describes a qualitative documentresearch study that was conducted to explore the landscape of this phenomenon. The aim was to ascertain the extent towhich human trafficking, child trafficking in particular, is addressed in the national curriculum. The document analysisincluded all of the compulsory subjects in Grades R to 12. By employing content analysis, the areas in the explicitcurriculum where human trafficking is included could be identified. Based on the findings of this research, SouthAfrica’s curriculum seems to be stuck in a traffick jam in the sense that it does not adequately explore the topic ofhuman trafficking. As a result, children are not gaining an awareness and knowledge of the realities of this kind oftrafficking. This article concludes with an appeal to curriculum scholars to embrace curriculum as a complicatedconversation that expresses lived experiences and a desire for a profoundly transformative curriculum in the future,which can help to prevent the trafficking of our children. Such discourse would be a way of breaking the shackles thatare binding our children and preventing them from embracing their vulnerability.

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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