JeVanne Gibbs
2 minute read
4 Jun 2014
6:00 am

Human trafficking: the final stage in exploitation

JeVanne Gibbs

Human trafficking is as widespread in South Africa as it is around the world.

Young children hold posters at the 'Bring Back Our Girls' campaign yesterday at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein. The campaign by the city of Joburg aims to support the return of the girls, who were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Through an intelligence-driven operation, police arrested two men in possession of various drugs who were keeping three women against their will in Midrand, Gauteng last week.

City of Joburg mayoral committee member Nonceba Molwele said the men had forced the women to take drugs for months.

Molwele spoke at the launch of the city’s anti-human trafficking awareness campaign, which served as a plea to militant group Boko Haram to release the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped in April.

“Societal ills like trafficking and children being trained as child soldiers endure on the continent. It cannot be tolerated,” said Molwele.

Dr Monique Emser, of the KwaZulu-Natal human trafficking, prostitution, pornography and brothel task team, said: “South Africans need to be worried. Human trafficking is the final stage in exploitation.”

The justice department yesterday confirmed that the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 had been passed into law but had not yet been implemented.

This Act stipulated that a person would be found guilty of human trafficking if he or she adopted a child or entered into a forced marriage with another person for the purpose of exploiting that child or other person “in any form or manner”.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) found there was no research available that provided comprehensive insight into the prevalence or patterns of trafficking into or out of South Africa or the southern African region.

Chandre Gould and Nicole Fick’s 2008 study, “Selling Sex in Cape Town”, which focused specifically on sex trafficking in the city, was said to be the most methodologically sound research.

The study had found only eight possible cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation in Cape Town, in contrast to claims that trafficking was a major problem there.

The Salvation Army urged anyone who suspected human trafficking was taking place to report it by calling its toll-free hotline 08000 RESCU (080-007-3728).

The hotline provides a confidential platform for anyone with tip-offs on human trafficking for the organisation to refer the matters to the police for investigation.