Human trafficking on the rise in SA
In May this year the International Organisation for Migration reported an increase in human trafficking in South Africa.
The report showed that desperation was a driving force in human trafficking. With high unemployment rates, more and more young adults and children find themselves falling victim to this crime. According to the report, South Africa is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.
Universal News spoke to Vincentia Boogie Dlamini, Operations Director at Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), who explained how children from poor backgrounds are lured into being trafficked.
"South African children are recruited from poor, rural areas and taken to urban centres, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Bloemfontein, where girls are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude and boys are forced to work in street vending, food service, begging, criminal activities and agriculture. Many children, including those with disabilities, were exploited in forced begging," she said.
Human trafficking can happen anywhere and any time from in a restaurant, a dark alley, at a school to an open public setting.
Boogie encouraged people to stay alert and immediately report any suspicious activity or person to the authorities. "Make sure that your movements are known. If you must be travelling alone, try to not find yourself in an area where you may need to ask for assistance from strangers as this may alert them that you are alone, lost and vulnerable. Be alert and worry if someone offers you employment or an easy money-making opportunity," she said.
- This is a well organised process in which a victim disappears without trace in a matter of seconds.
- It begins with an abduction or recruitment and continues to include smuggling of a victim through a border control process in some cases.
- The crime involves kidnapping and forgery of documentation
- Drugs usage, laundering of money which has been paid for the victims (on the part of the offenders).
- It may also include possession and usage of illegal weaponry which can sometimes have been obtained from law enforcement.
- In the case of children there is a fabrication of documentation to allow the kidnappers and the buyers to be able to move with the child.
- Other crimes may include robbery and damage to property, a violation of immigration laws as well as corruption by immigration officials, forgery, sexual assault, rape, sexual violation, aggravated assault, as well as the possibility of those trafficked becoming murder victims.
- Young women are subjected to forced abortions and torture.
- Victims are exposed to cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment. They are victims of forced pregnancy in some cases where the children born are sold for exorbitant amounts of money.
Make sure that you report any suspicious behaviour and do not befriend strangers. Be vigilant of offers that seem too good to be real.