More than 10, 000 people attended the launch of the “Fragrance of Freedom” campaign, held by Women in Action (WiA) at the Cenacle of the Holy Spirit in Soweto on 9th August 2011.
WiA believes that ‘knowledge is power’ which is why they decided to use Women’s Day to educate the community about human trafficking.
Mrs Pinky Dada, a member of the WiA recited a poem, ‘Power to the women of the world’ as a tribute to all South African women.
Among the guest speakers was Ms Khanyi Motsa, founder of the Berea /Hillbrow Home of Hope, an organisation which provides shelter for those who have been sexually exploited and are victims of human trafficking.
“In South Africa children become orphans after the loss of their parents to HIV/AIDS. When no one looks after them, they can become victims of human trafficking. We are called into service because there is something we can do for the orphans before they are trafficked,” said Ms Motsa.
Another guest speaker, Boogie Dhlamini, manager of Women and Men Against Child Abuse in Orange Farm, agreed that human trafficking was an international problem.
She explained that human trafficking happened in three different phases — recruitment, transportation and exploitation.
She also said that many cases remained unknown because they were ‘organised crimes’ in which trusted people could be involved, such as neighbours, nurses, doctors and government officials.
She warned people about checking up on simple things such as ensuring a company existed before applying for a job. As people often said, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and she called on women to work together as communities to protect orphans.
Founder of Women in Action, Mrs Marcia Pires said that when she first heard about human trafficking, she thought that it was not relevant to South Africa, but research has shown this was not so.
“I don’t believe that organisations lobbying on the subject ever dream they will be able to bring modern slavery to an end. However, we are certain that we will be able to educate more people if we alert youths who aspire to careers as models or those who dream of being footballers about the false proposals. We will also create awareness among parents that not all the promises offering better lives and study opportunities for their children are true. If we educate women to verify the accuracy of job offers abroad, we will be saving many from the potential ambushes of traffickers,” said Mrs Pires.
“Let us use the freedom we enjoy today to bring freedom to others who are captives of this social injustice. The spirit that led 20,000 women, 55 years ago, to pave the way to freedom lives on. ‘And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’ (Rom 12:2),” Mrs Pires said.
At the end of the event Mrs Thoko Nkayi thanked all who provided information for the launch of the campaign and prayed for the women and children of South Africa, all victims and those vulnerable to human trafficking.
By: Nomsa Masengemu