Can’t be bought, say designers
In a move against child trafficking, a fashion phenomenon has been launched in South Africa.
Dubbed “I can’t be bought”, a fashion show saw hundreds of people descending on Sandton as the initiative by the Pretoria-based child safety organisation Child Trace.
With diplomats and members of international human rights organisations attending the show, organisers claimed a resounding success in the first round of the battle against child and human trafficking in SA.
For Child Trace spokeswoman Zwanga Mulovhedzi, the fight is a fight close to her heart.
“What is happening in this country and across the continent and the world when it comes to the trafficking of people is unimaginably horrendous.
“It is something very few, especially in South Africa, are aware of, with the common thought being that it cannot happen to my child.
“But statistics show that on average 1 200 children go missing every year in South Africa with over 10 percent never being found.
“Our message to South Africans is that the threat is a very real one,” she said.
Mulovhedzi said the idea behind the fashion show came about because of the lack of awareness around human trafficking in SA.
“When you talk about human trafficking people ‘normally’ switch off.
“We decided to create this platform using some of the country’s leading fashion designers and personality ambassadors to create awareness around human trafficking and what needs to be done to combat it.
“With the tag ‘I can’t be bought’ we are telling people that a price tag should be put on fashion and not on people. Freedom is the new fashion and we are using fashion to start a revolution against human trafficking.
“With buy-in from South Africa’s biggest fashion designers such as Gert Johan Coetzee; Pretoria fashion design house Over Dose; Broken Clock Designs; Namoi Wiids Designs and several South African design schools we are creating the awareness needed in this country.
“Along with the International Organisation of Migration and the South African Catholic Church’s Counter Trafficking in Missing Persons Desk initiative we are showing people how serious this problem really is,” Mulovhedzi said.
She said proceeds raised from the auctioning of dresses worn by their ambassadors and a signed soccer shirt from Matthew Booth’s team Ajax Cape Town would go towards the enrolment of children on the organisation’s child identification database.
“Our child identification initiative, the first of its kind in South Africa, was developed due to the lack of identification and verification systems for children under the age of 16.
“To combat the child trafficking pandemic and the increasing number of missing children we decided on an initiative which works on a system of iris recognition technology, which offers a technological platform that positively and accurately identifies children under the age of 16 using the most accurate form of biometric technology to date.” - Pretoria News