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Human traffickers use job adverts and social media platforms to lure victims

The University of KwaZulu-Natal and the National Prosecuting Authority have put the spotlight on how job seeking platforms and social media networks have become popular with human trafficking rings.

Thousands of hopeful job applicants. File picture: REUTERS/Rogan Ward (SOUTH AFRICA BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT).

Published Oct 5, 2021


DURBAN - JOB seekers should be vigilant when responding to employment adverts, as they have become a potent tool used by human trafficking predators to lure vulnerable young women into a life of crime and drug use.

This was said during a webinar hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) yesterday, which was held to create awareness for students and the community.

The university, in partnership with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the KZN Human Trafficking, Harmful Traditional Practices, Prostitution, Pornography and Brothels Task Team, hosted the webinar to create awareness about human trafficking as it is one of the leading crimes in South Africa and the world at large.

Tershia de Klerk, the chief operating officer at Stop Trafficking of People, shared information on online tools such as Prevention vs Cure, which can be used by job seekers to verify adverts for jobs, and the Namola and Freedom apps, which had virtual panic buttons to get help from the police.

“Victims are used for many things such as work exploitation, prostitution, organ harvesting and even as child soldiers. “Beware of adverts on social media platforms and websites such as Gumtree and Marketplace with only a cell phone number for the prospective employer, who promises large sums of money.”

The NPA’s advocate Dawn Coleman-Malinga

said that victims of human trafficking were often thought of as being in chains and full of bruises, but this was not the case.

“If you look beyond the surface of what seems to be legitimate businesses, you may find that they are actually involved in human trafficking. The human being is the actual commodity.

“The traffickers can work as a syndicate to perform multiple acts on the victim. Victims are sourced through recruits, who sell them to the next receivers,” she said.

The NPA said human traffickers used narcotics and the initial payment made for travel documents to trap their victims into a vicious cycle of human trafficking, where victims were guilt tripped into repaying exorbitant debt.