Increased incidents of human trafficking in SA has prompted a campaign which aims to create more awareness of how the public can spot the crime. Picture: Jae C Hong/AP
Cape Town - Increased incidents of human trafficking in South Africa has prompted a campaign which aims to create more awareness of how the public can spot crime happening on the streets.

A21 human trafficking hotline manager Rene Hanekom said that victims of the scourge were often hidden in plain sight and engaged in seemingly legitimate businesses within our local economies.

The “Can you see me?” campaign will highlight how slavery and human trafficking takes place on our streets through posters being put up at various locations around the city and a series of locally made videos will be shared across social media platforms.

“The South African problem is perpetuated by a lack of awareness and knowledge on the phenomenon which is why we focus on empowering communities to take steps to report suspicious behaviour,” Hanekom said.

“This includes, but is not limited to, things like a residential house that has little or no activity during the day but is busy at night: domestic workers who are not allowed to leave their employers’ homes, recruiters offering suspicious job opportunities to young people.”

Hanekom said South Africa faces a large problem as a source, transit and destination country.

Traffickers work within the structural context of a country to exploit vulnerable populations with high unemployment, fairly new legislations and other structural concerns.

It can be said that this country is a exploitation hot spot.

According to the Global Slavery Index (2018), 54% of South Africans are vulnerable to human trafficking schemes, so public awareness is key.

A21 country manager Katie Modrau said: “Giving the public a real picture of how human trafficking happens locally means you are taking power away from trafficking rings by reducing the “invisible” nature of the crime.

“With this campaign, the public will not only be able to recognise a victim of trafficking when they cross paths, but they will be able to protect themselves from falling prey to this atrocity themselves,” Modrau said.

The arresting videos and posters will appear in local clinics across the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, transport buses and other prominent public spaces across the country.

A21 global development director Christian Elliott said: “Everyone has an innate sense of suspicion.

“We have all observed something that doesn’t seem right, but often it doesn’t feel worthy of a call to the police. This campaign exists to fill that space between people’s suspicion and a police investigation.”

* Anyone who suspects human trafficking activity should call the South African National Human Trafficking Resource Line on 0800222777 and visit to find out more about the campaign.


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Cape Argus