Human trafficking on KZN’s doorstep

2011-08-18 00:00

TELEVISION adverts warning about human trafficking may make it sound like a global issue, but the hard realities strike close to home.

Trafficking is generally understood to be related to the commercial sex trade, but it also includes slave labour and the illegal act of baby selling. Such crimes can happen across international borders and one’s home country.

Pietermaritzburg Child Welfare Director Julie Todd said unregistered children crossing provincial borders are especially a cause for concern.

“There are many unregistered children in the country. This makes the tracking of such children difficult. Trafficking across provincial borders is believed to be more common than is reported.

“The human trafficking cases we tend to deal with include cases of suspected baby selling. This means birth mothers are suspected of selling or trying to sell their babies.

“To raise awareness we include human trafficking as part of our child abuse awareness and prevention programmes. We also have a DVD we use in schools and for other community education programmes,” said Todd.

Nationwide awareness campaign such as Not For Sale are also working to combat human trafficking, while the KwaZulu-Natal Human Trafficking, Child Pornography, Prostitution and Brothels task team works to stop human trafficking in the province.

The task team is the first to be set up in the country and does ongoing work in this field.

The team’s spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson, described human trafficking as the forced movement of a person or people from their surroundings to an unfamiliar setting for financial gain.

Ramkisson said, “Curbing the scourge of human trafficking is a key priority in the National Prosecuting Authority’s mandate and we have task teams set up around the country partnering with various government departments.

“NGOs form a major part of the work done by the team. In October we will be commemorating Human Trafficking Week and will embark on a host of activities to create awareness in schools, tertiary institutions and places of worship,” she added.

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