At least 80% of calls received are about human trafficking, says Salvation Army
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DURBAN - AT LEAST 80% of calls to the Salvation Army are about help for human trafficking.
According to the Salvation Army's Captain Juanita Wright, they are deeply concerned about the spike in instances of human trafficking brought to their attention over the last three months.
Wright, who is the co-ordinator for the Salvation Army's anti-human trafficking unit, said they were experiencing ongoing calls for help.
She said of the dozens of calls to their offices every week, 80% are related to human trafficking.
"We believe that many of the calls for help involve people who have been tricked into human trafficking situations as a result of the difficult economic circumstances which South Africa is experiencing," Wright said.
She appealed to people to be much more vigilant about human trafficking.
"It is real and it is happening in our society to people of all ages. If an offer of employment sounds too good to be true, it probably is," she said.
Wright said there are far too many people who don't believe that human trafficking is happening or that it could happen to them or their families.
"People most vulnerable to human trafficking are children, teenagers, young women, refugees, job seekers and people living on the street. These people are preyed upon in various ways and are literally tricked into going somewhere with their traffickers, and subsequently held against their will," Wright said.
Information that is received from calls to The Salvation Army’s helpline is directed to one its network partners for follow-up and investigation.
Calls can also be directed to the national hotline number 0800 737 28.
Captain Wright offered the following guidelines for members of the public to be aware of in helping to combat human trafficking in their communities:
- Tell your friends and neighbours how to protect themselves from being trafficked.
- Learn to recognise trafficked persons.
- They are often unable to speak the local language.
- They appear to be trapped in their job or the place they stay.
- They may have bruises and other signs of physical abuse.
- They do not have identification documents (passport, ID, refugee or asylum papers).
- Report places where you suspect trafficked people are kept (for example, brothels, farms, factories, shebeens) to the local authorities and the media.
- Report people you suspect may be traffickers to the local authorities (police, NGOs) and the media.