THE masterminds of human trafficking, who were living in luxury while destroying other people, should be arrested, Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla said yesterday.
He was addressing the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Pretoria Central, on the need to curb human trafficking, accompanied by officials from the department.
Earlier in the day, congregants had marched from Sunnyside to the church to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Makwetla described human trafficking as dehumanising and said it affected virtually every country. “It represents a stain on South Africa,” he said.
Further, he said what was more painful was realising that human trafficking was perpetuated by people who knew each other, including blood relatives.
“Some perpetrators are behind bars, but that is not enough. The department needs to introduce programmes earmarked specifically at dealing with human trafficking.
“South Africa is a popular transit route for irregular immigrants, moving to all directions, in search of a better life.
"The country cannot afford to ignore this crime, which has millions of victims and generates billions of rand for criminals,” Makwetla said.
He appealed to government, communities, NGOs, churches and civic organisations to assist and protect victims of human trafficking. “We need to see more traffickers being punished and their victims supported. We must work collaboratively where possible.”
Makwetla added that church leaders had to be among platforms where discussions around the abuse, victimisation and humiliation of people were at the top of the agenda.