Create awareness about human trafficking

2015-10-08 06:00

NATIONAL Human Trafficking Awareness Week runs from 2 to 9 October, the object of which is to highlight the global resurfacing of slavery in the form of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is increasing due to the prevailing socio-economic conditions, porous borders, immigration patterns and flourishing organised criminal activity in South Africa. It is fuelled by greed and corruption.

Victims of human trafficking are lured with money, deceived by false promises, abducted, sold by their families and then they are exploited.

They are controlled using drugs, rape, torture, beatings, debt bondage, blackmail, threats of death and violence to their families back home if they speak out or try to escape.

People can be trafficked for a variety of reasons for example, sexual exploitation, forced labour, servitude, slavery or for organ removals.

Curbing the scourge of human trafficking is a key priority of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the week will be used to reinforce awareness around fighting this form of modern day slavery.

In KZN the Human Trafficking, Harmful Traditional Practices, Pornography, Prostitution and Brothels (HHPPB) task team has been operative since 2008. The team is driven by the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit within the National Prosecuting Authority. The task team comprises of about 35 organisations which include the South African Police Service, government departments, non-government organisations and international organisations.

The week comes on the heels of the commencement of the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Person Act 7 of 2013 (TiP Act) which repealed the interim provisions previously contained in the Children Act 38 of 2005 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.

The TiP Act aims “to give effect to the Republic’s obligations concerning the trafficking of persons in terms of international agreements among many other things.

Sections 15, 16 and 31(2)(b)(ii) of the TiP Act dealing with the visitors visas and issues pertaining to repatriation of foreign victims of trafficking have not as yet commenced.

The National Prosecuting Authority warns that anyone can be a victim of human trafficking – men and women – of all ages. However traffickers and recruiters tend to target people who are vulnerable because of poverty, unemployment, lack of skills or social circumstances.

The TiP Act also contains sections dealing with forced marriages for the purpose of exploitation and abduction for the purpose of exploitation.

People, especially children need to be more aware of travelling alone. Never travel anywhere without your family knowing where you are and what you are doing. Be cautious about job opportunities that promise a better life in a short period.

The usage of social media facilities by children should be monitored by parents or an adult.

Communities need to be alert and report anything suspicious to their local police. There may be brothels operating in residential areas which imprison victims of human trafficking.

Be alert as landlords if you are leasing your premises. Do proper checks on tenants and always do frequent checks to ensure that your property is not being used for criminal purposes.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Week is an opportunity for South Africans to unite as a nation and speak out against human trafficking. - Supplied


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