Helpline gives victims a voice

2016-09-06 10:08

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A new resource line to combat human trafficking has been launched.

The South African National Human Trafficking Resource Line was launched on Tuesday 30 August and will be operated by global counter-trafficking organisation, The A21 Campaign.

The initiative is a national collaboration between The A21 Campaign and various civil society organisations that form part of the National Freedom Network and will look to facilitate the reporting, responding to and ultimately eradication human trafficking in the country.

An estimated 27 million people are still enslaved, with human trafficking being the fastest growing crime in the world, generating $150bn per year, the organisation says in a statement

Stories of those such as Sindiswe are all too common.

She was approached by a good-looking man who offered her a job. Sindiswe accepted as she was desperate for a better life. She arrived in Cape Town for an interview in what she believed would be a position in a call center. Once in Cape Town, the man took her to her temporary residence while waiting for an interview. She started accumulating quite a debt for the accommodation and bus tickets which were initially presented as gifts. It became clear that the job opportunity would not materialise and she was told to pay back her debt by becoming a prostitute. She was forced to service multiple clients every night and if she did not, she was beaten. As a reward for not running away after brutal beatings, she would be given heroine. It numbed the pain and reality of what her life had become.

Rene Hanekom, resource line developer for The A21 Campaign says: “As a country, South Africa has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years in the fight against human trafficking, with a new law to prosecute traffickers and many lives rescued and restored to date. As we progress, we believe that a national human trafficking resource line to call with all things human trafficking is the next logical step; a national collaborative line between civil society and government.”

This tool will make a significant impact in combatting this large issue in our society, says the National Human Trafficking Resource Line in a media release.

The national line will be able to take calls 24/7 and can assist callers from all provinces. Tip-offs and requests can also be submitted online via the website, making the resource line multimodal to increase accessibility.

Calls will be answered by professional call specialists who have been specifically trained. These call specialists follow international procedures, ensuring the fastest response to each call.

The resource line will work in close partnership with a number of key stakeholders in each province to ensure rapid response and effectiveness to each call or request. Another main aspect of the resource line is that it provides a strong data management system which will assist in providing law enforcement with crucial information for investigations as well as tracking trends and the ability to analyse the data to provide more accurate statistics.

Katie Modrau, South African development manager for The A21 Campaign says: “I firmly believe this tool is key to implementing our long awaited law. So often there is a disconnect. Government has the mandate to assist victims of trafficking, but not the capacity or services to handle it all. Civil society offers the services but struggles to get connected with victims. The resource line will prevent bottlenecking and ensure the victim is assisted and doesn’t fall through the cracks. For so long we have struggled to get accurate statistics of victims being assisted and trends identified. This allows us to have one data collection point, identifying trends and drawing statistics to help us to really target our interventions.”

The resource line can be used to report suspected trafficking of persons and submit a tip. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. If you think you are a victim of trafficking and need help, the call specialists are available to guide and support you while connecting you to the necessary partners and emergency services.

For more information, resources and facts, visit, or keep up to date with local initiatives on the National Human Trafficking Resource Line Facebook page. The resource line can be reached at 0800 222 777.

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