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With more than 30 monitoring stations in human trafficking hot spots across the country, NGO Love Justice SA helped prevent more than 300 people from being trafficked in the past two years.

It largely attributed the success in South Africa to travel restrictions, implemented by Home Affairs to curb child trafficking, in 2015.

The regulations stated that parents of minors travelling in and out of South Africa were required to produce unabridged birth certificates.

Now the NGO is outraged after Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba lifted the travel restrictions.

The travel regime was revised following an outcry from the tourism Industry which estimated it had resulted in a loss of R7.5billion.

Love Justice SA spokesperson Mitchell Butterworth said the move would turn South Africa in to a haven for potential traffickers.

“It is hard to fight the trafficking syndicates when the strict rules are in place. It would be much harder now that people are given freedom to enter the borders without confirming the identity of the children they are travelling with.”

She said the organisation has officials dotted across the country to help profile suspicious travellers.

“When a potential trafficker or victim was spotted, law enforcement agencies were alerted.

The NGO was also involved in combating trafficking in Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

Caroline Peters, director for Activists Networking Against the Exploitation of Children anti-child trafficking unit, said the relaxation of regulations was a major setback.

“Human trafficking is an organised crime. It is going to get harder for us. The requirement for unabridged birth certificates helped prevent children from being stolen and abused.”

Peters said the number of trafficking cases declined dramatically when regulations were in place.

She said the regulations also reduced cases related to abduction of children during custody battles.

“In the past, when partners disagreed it was easy for the other to run off with the child to another country.

“We can’t put profits above the safety of our children. The tourism industry must understand this.”

The Saturday Star