Minister calls upon society to help in the fight against Human trafficking
Tomorrow is the start of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, which runs from 1st to the 7th of October 2019.
The Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, calls upon society to help in the fight against Human trafficking, as her Department continues to raise awareness and warn the public, especially parents, to be extra vigilant.
Victims of human trafficking can be identified as they:
· Are controlled by another person and are not free to come and go as they wish;
· Exhibit poor mental and physical health including substance abuse, signs of physical abuse or
· Avoid eye contact;
· Have few or no personal possessions;
· Are not permitted to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or
· Have a limited ability to speak the local language and have little knowledge of their whereabouts.
The United Nations (UN) highlights that “trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”
South Africa continues to be a source, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking. Criminal traffickers are increasingly becoming organized crime syndicates, and use deceptive means to potentially abduct and traffic adults and children. Of those who are taken, it is estimated that less than 2% are ever found.
Furthermore, each province has an established Task Team, which is responsible for setting up the Provincial/Rapid Response Team (RTTs). The RRTs are the operational anti-trafficking front-liners at the provincial level providing a coordinated response when suspected cases of trafficking in persons are reported or are pending in the criminal justice system.
Given the complex and underground nature of trafficking, reliable statistics are difficult to come by, especially for children. However, research conducted in the Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region: Baseline Report: 2016 shows that poverty & unemployment are viewed as the primary push factors behind the trafficking of persons in SA.
Minister Fernandez said: “We are working closely with our partners which include: the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority NPA), the International Organization for Migration, and specialist NGOs, which we fund to render services.”
Moreover, DSD, through its Victim Empowerment Programme, is responsible for providing victim support services that include safe and secure accommodation, psycho-social support and empowerment of victims of crime and violence.
“Our Department currently funds 16 shelters in the Western Cape that can accommodate victims and their children up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters that accommodate victims for up to two weeks. Furthermore, the existing shelter funding model consists of unit cost, security, skills development and a social work/ social auxiliary work post. DSD has spent R25 million on the shelters during 2019/20,” says Minister Fernandez.
Should you suspect any incidences of child abuse and/or human trafficking, you may also report it by contacting:
· Western Cape Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250
· Email: SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za
· Police: 10111
· Childline: 0861 322 322
∙ South African National Human Trafficking Hotline: 0800 222 777
· Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001