Durban - The National Freedom Party (NFP) has called on the government to take urgent action in addressing the growing issue of human trafficking among South Africans.
This comes after reports of South Africans being lured abroad with false promises of job opportunities, only to be turned into slaves.
The Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Naledi Pandor, recently appealed to South Africans to thoroughly check organisations and institutions offering them opportunities overseas, whether academic or work-related.
The leader of the NFP in Parliament, Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, said the lack of job security and economic stability in South Africa is causing individuals to seek employment overseas, which makes them vulnerable to human traffickers.
He said the Trafficking in Person report shows sex trafficking is prevalent in South Africa, with girls as young as 10 being exploited by sex trafficking rings. Syndicates are forcing women from countries bordering South Africa into commercial sex.
“Unemployment, low wages, and pandemic-related restrictions have increased the vulnerability of exploitation, particularly of youth, black women and foreign migrants. We call on the government to take urgent action to address this issue by investigating, prosecuting and convicting officials complicit in trafficking crimes and traffickers within organised crime networks. The training of police officers in this regard also needs to be heightened,” he said.
Emam suggested that the government partners with international organisations that specialise in fighting human trafficking. He said these organisations had resources, knowledge and experience to provide solutions and support in the fight.
“It is important for South Africans to thoroughly check the organisations and institutions offering them opportunities overseas, whether academic or work-related. The NFP encourages individuals to inform the relevant authorities before undertaking any opportunity and to seek assistance in verifying its authenticity,” said Emam.
He said the government should prioritise job creation and economic stability as it is a crucial step to reduce vulnerability of citizens.
“The NFP stands in solidarity with the victims of human trafficking and will continue to advocate for their rights and safety. We urge the government to take urgent action to address this issue and to protect the citizens of South Africa,” said Emam.