2018-05-22 06:00
Hillcrest SAPS Communications Officer Captain Linzi Smith.PHOTO: FEVER REPORTER

Hillcrest SAPS Communications Officer Captain Linzi Smith.PHOTO: FEVER REPORTER

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LAST year former Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula had warned young people not to trust the internet when potential employers propose job opportunities over social media.

During this time there had been scams going around social media offering young women job positions.

Human trafficking can be described as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion according to the United Nations (UN).

When abducted there are many facets that you can be utilised in to make an income for the abductor including prostitution, being a drug mule, exploitation, slavery and forced labour or the removal of organs.

The UN highlights that every country is affected by human trafficking whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. Often, poor countries where the unemployment rate is high become an easy prey for abductors.

In the plight of the human trafficking epidemic the Hillcrest SAPS urge the community to be on the lookout and stay aware that human trafficking is a real crime and can happen to anyone.

Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith said: “Community, students, scholars, parents etc. should be aware of the dangers of trusting strangers who offer them lifts, offer them fast paying jobs or free scholarships. People need to guard themselves and know that if it seems too good to be true, it’s because most often they are people who are involved in human trafficking, lure young girls and boys with money and then send them off to other countries where they become slaves of cheap labour or get involved in forced prostitution and drugs.

“Youngsters need to be careful of befriending strangers on social media. With modern technology today, the criminal can hide behind any false identity and can meet you in the safety of your bedroom, behind a screen on the computer on Facebook or Skype.

“Sometimes these underground human trafficking syndicates most often hide behind false identity profiles with fake photographs. Never meet a stranger from the internet alone, as most often it is dangerous and can put oneself in a very vulnerable situation and can result in one being kidnapped for human trafficking purposes.

“Young girls need to seek advice and do proper research before accepting any offers that seem too good to be true, so as to make sure that the offers are legit.

“The community is encouraged to work hand in hand with the police in combatting the increase in this crime. Pupils should not fall into the trap of peer pressure and being bullied into doing unlawful criminal activities. Contact the Crime Stop Tip Off by calling 086 001 0111.

“Any suspicious activity or person you suspect that could possibly be involved in human trafficking should be reported and can be investigated.”

Open Door Crisis Centre Founder Thora Mansfield said that human trafficking can be referred to as modern day slavery.

Mansfield said that human trafficking is unlawful and not only violates basic human rights but also contravenes the law.

“It can be defined as-the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them. Human trafficking knows no boundaries, it is both an international and domestic problem and it affects, in varying degrees, both males and females. People who are often targeted by criminals are desperate and poor people who aspire for a better life. Human trafficking can be committed by a sole individual, partners or by different actors in an organised fashion.”

She said human trafficking is ranked second in the criminal industry after drug trafficking and arms trafficking.

“It is regarded as a profit making and lucrative business for criminal syndicates. It knows no borders and operates internationally and locally. Due to its clandestine and complex nature, it is difficult to detect. Therefore, reliable statistics on the magnitude of the problem are difficult to ascertain.

“One of the organisation’s immediate goals is to expand the awareness campaigns to schools and tertiary institutions, communities and religious sectors as a preventative measure to potential victims of human trafficking.”

For further information on human trafficking, or wishing to support human trafficking programmes email or call 031 709 2679.

+Side bar

Elements of human trafficking can be seen in three constituent elements The Act (What is done)

Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons

The Means (How it is done)

Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim

The Purpose (Why it is done)

For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.



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