Why child visa laws have been tightened

In an effort to combat the cases of child trafficking in South Africa, children 18 years or younger will have to carry unabridged birth certificates when crossing South Africa’s borders. This law in the Immigration Regulations Act of 2014 will be effective from 1 June 2015.

It is reported that parents of children born between June 1995 and 4 March 2013, with the intentions of travelling internationally, will need to apply for unabridged certificates at Home Affairs offices.

We spoke to Joan van Niekerk, child rights consultant and president of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse (ISPCAN) about the risks of child trafficking in South Africa.

More awareness needs to be raised.

Van Niekerk says that not enough communication has been invested in making sure that all South Africans understand the difference between an abridged and unabridged certificate.

Child trafficking is considered to be a problem in South Africa. We welcome this move; but with some qualification. Firstly, many people travelling across our borders don’t understand the difference between a birth certificate and an unabridged birth certificate. There is an enormous need for publicity about this.

What is an abridged birth certificate?

Abridged birth certificate was were in South Africa until 2013 and they include only the mother’s name on a newborns child's birth records.

What is an unabridged birth certificate?

Unabridged certificates have been issued at Home Affairs since the immigration legislation was passed and are birth certificates detailing the names of both biological parents.

Listen to the full conversation with Africa Melane, standing in, on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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