Cape Town - Less than 1% of human trafficking victims are rescued in South Africa despite more than half of the population vulnerable to trafficking.
Lack of proper knowledge has been one of the biggest impediments in tackling this problem, said Ruth Dearnley, CEO of Stop the Traffik.
“It must be emphasized that the essence of trafficking is the forced exploitation of individuals by those in the position to exert power over them. More needs to be done.
“Many people still do not know what trafficking is, or do not care. We are working to change that, at every level of society,” Dearnley said.
Although sexual exploitation is often associated with human trafficking, forced labour is the most prevalent form of trafficking in the country, with more than 70% of victims being exploited in this way, with the rest being forced into sexual exploitation.
While most human trafficking victims don’t identify as victims due to a lack of knowledge about the crime and the power and control dynamics involved.
According to the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA) victims of Human Trafficking can be helped by doing the following:
- Contact your nearest Social Worker to arrange counselling services for the victim of trafficking, so that they can deal with the experience they have gone through.
- Information on shelters in your area will be provided by the Social Worker or the Department of Welfare in your province, where the victim can be given a place to stay.
- Keep yourself safe. You do not have to approach an individual, as the trafficker might be nearby or watching.
- Contact the Human Trafficking Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU) Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa Tel: +27 12 845-6000 e-mail: [email protected]
- Any suspicious conduct by prospective employers or their agents must be reported to the police.
Meanwhile, a Limpopo learner has invented an alerting ear piece which can track victims of human trafficking and gender based violence.
Bohlale Mphahlele, a Grade 11 learner from SJ van der Merwe Technical High School in the Lebowakgomo Circuit, recently showcased her new invention at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, in the category for Engineering-electronics and embedded systems.
“The device can help in the fight against crimes against women and children. This is a small object that can be inserted in earrings and capture photos of perpetrators, enabling the police to quickly identify them,” she explained.