Johannesburg - Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor has appealed to South Africans to be careful about accepting work opportunities overseas as the year begins.
Pandor said South Africans should thoroughly check the organisations and institutions that are offering them opportunities overseas, whether academic or work-related.
This follows a video that was circulated on social media recently with a South African national claiming to be stuck in war-torn Myanmar. The group claims that they left South Africa to seek work opportunities in East Asia, but when they got there they were turned into slaves, working 15-hour shifts against their will. The group had apparently been lured there by other South Africans who had promised them jobs in Thailand.
“Allow me once more to state the warning to our citizens that before you undertake any opportunity, check that it is a legitimate opportunity and inform the relevant authorities. Allow us to help you to check whether these are authentic bodies or human traffickers, which is what is happening in our world today,” Pandor said.
She said human trafficking was a serious problem that South Africans had to be aware of, especially when travelling to foreign lands.
“While it is important that we use opportunities, we must not allow ourselves to be fooled by criminals who are carrying out human trafficking of people all over the world, especially of Africans,” Pandor said.
Pandor said South Africa would investigate the authenticity of the video. But she said the matter was of great concern to Pretoria.
“We have been alerted about the matter, and we will be investigating through our consular services and we will work with law enforcement agencies if this is required. Of course, you know it is easy to make videos, and it is important that we look into the authenticity of the complaint,” Pandor said.