Cape Town – South Africa has been identified as a source, transit point and destination of human trafficking victims.
This emerged at the Department of Social Development’s recent Human Trafficking Indaba.
The indaba was part of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
The gathering saw more than 200 representatives of organisations working to prevent and eliminate all forms of human trafficking, including cross-border trafficking, and related issues.
It included representatives of UN agencies such as the International Organisation for Migration and UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as government representatives from the neighbouring countries of Mozambique and Eswatini.
Research findings from a study conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council in 2010 into the Dimensions of Human Trafficking in Southern Africa identified four key human trafficking patterns.
These are trafficking to South Africa from outside of Africa; trafficking to South Africa from within Africa; trafficking within the national borders of South Africa; and trafficking that uses South Africa as a transit point to other countries.
“The findings also show that women and children, particularly girl children, constitute the largest group of victims trafficked from within the continent and within national borders.
“Research also shows an inextricable connection between human trafficking and other forms of human rights violations, including prostitution, pornography, forced marriage, domestic servitude, forced labour, begging and criminal activity, including drug trafficking,” the Department of Social Development said.
As part of the indaba, the department also hosted the annual Service Excellence Awards to recognise the contribution of civil society and community-based organisations that render services to victims of crime and violence, including human trafficking.
NGO Stop Trafficking of People (Stop) national administrator Bertha Bresler said human trafficking did not discriminate and could affect any South African.
“Countries’ involvement in human trafficking are classified as one of three types: transit, destination and origin/source countries.
“With South Africa classified as all three, it is safe to say that we have a problem. Trafficking being a hidden crime, it is hard to say if it has increased or decreased, we only know the tip of the iceberg But one victim is one victim too many.”
Bresler said Stop had launched an initiative called Prevention vs Cure, where they vetted job opportunities and travel plans for free.
“Say someone is looking for a job and they come across something that looks dodgy or they just don’t feel right about it; they can send it to us and we look into it for them.”
You can visit the website preventionversuscure.com or send an email to [email protected]