An eight-year-old Ivorian boy, Adou Ouattara, who was smuggled from Morocco into Spain in a suitcase, has received a temporary residence permit from Spain.
Ouattara was found in the suitcase on 7 May this year. The suitcase in which he was travelling was the property of a 19-year-old woman who is unrelated to the child.
Police images of the scanned case shocked many and seemed to highlight the harrowing plight of migrants trying to reach Europe.
The boy’s father, Ali Ouattara, who lives legally with the child’s mother in Spain, was arrested on charges of human rights abuse for trying to have the boy smuggled into the country.
His lawyer, Francesco Luca Caronna, however, says the man knew nothing of the plan.
Ouattara is currently being cared for in a center for the under-age in Ceuta.
The incident calls into question the effectiveness of the South African visa regulations for travelling minors, which from 1 June will require all children travelling to, through and from South Africa to have unabridged birth certificate. The department of home affairs said the revision of it regulations were done specifically to curb child and human trafficking across SA’s borders, but it seems no matter how many new laws you have in place, various illegal boundary crossings – as with Ouattara’s case – will still undoubtedly take place.
In the latest development ahead of the rules implementation at the beginning of June has seen the Institute for Race Relations calling on the department of home affairs to review the requirements, citing concerns that it could see international tourists choose other travel destinations over South Africa.
South Africa’s primary and secondary industries – agriculture, mining, and manufacturing – were in long-term decline both in terms of their contributions to GDP and their ability to create jobs and that this had closed off work opportunities to less skilled people.
“The tourism industry, however, had the potential to replace the jobs lost in those declining sectors,” the IRR’s CEO Dr Frans Cronjé said.