DSD observes World Day Against Trafficking in Persons | Western Cape Government

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DSD observes World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

30 July 2021

Today, Friday 30 July 2021, marks the observance of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

This year’s theme adopted by the United Nations is “VICTIM’S VOICES LEAD THE WAY” to highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. Survivors are key actors in the fight against human trafficking. They play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, identifying and rescuing victims and supporting  them on their road to rehabilitation.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD), through its Victim Empowerment Programme, is responsible for providing  support services for victims of human trafficking that includes safe and secure accommodation, psycho-social support and empowerment of victims of crime and violence.

Last year, 13 victims of human trafficking were supported by the department’s shelters.

The DSD is currently funding 25 shelters in the Western Cape that can accommodate victims and their children up to 3 months, and 4 emergency shelters that accommodate victims. Victims of human trafficking are placed in accredited shelters.

The existing shelter funding model consists of unit cost, security, skills development and a social work/ social auxiliary work post. For the financial year under review, the DSD spent R25 million on the shelters.

Shelters provide for basic needs that include: safe accommodation, protection, food, clothing and emotional support such as trauma debriefing and therapeutic counselling provided by a social worker. To assist with reintegration, victims are also provided with skills development opportunities to assist with their  economic empowerment .

Empowerment of the victim starts from the point of admission at the shelter, where the victim’s needs will be assessed including whether the victim has permanentaccommodation. The assessment report will influence the services or interventions conducted with the victims.

What is human trafficking? 

It is the buying & selling of people for the purposes of exploitation. It is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights.

Men, women & children are trafficked for a variety of exploitative purposes. 

These reasons can include:

  1. domestic servitude – where victims are forced to do domestic work for little or no pay, there are often abused and are not free to leave out of their own free will; 
  2. labour exploitation – where victims are forced to work;   exploitation in the sex industry or sex trafficking – where victims are forced into prostitution;
  3. harvesting of body parts;
  4. illegal adoption; 
  5. baby trafficking;  
  6. non-consensual ukuthwala; 
  7. forced begging;  
  8. child soldiers;   forced military service;  
  9. forced marriage and 
  10. debt bondage – forced to work as means to repay a loan.

How does trafficking happen? 

Trafficking rings use a network of people which can include taxi drivers; recruiters; farm owners; landlords; people who threaten families or buying services of victims to recruit victims of human trafficking.  

Victims are identified using the vulnerable circumstances that they find themselves in. These vulnerabilities may include:  poverty, desire for a better life; unemployment and  lack of education.                                                         

Trafficking rings use force, fraud, deception, acceptance of offer to travel e.g. an offer of an all-expenses paid trip as methods to lure victims into human trafficking. 

When victims arrive at the new location the following are common occurrences: 

Their passports and identity documents are taken away; they are forced to use drugs;  they are abused and raped and  fear is instilled in them through threats to their own or their family’s safety. 

Where to go for Help?

  • The Human Trafficking Resource Line: 0800 222 777
  • Gender-Based Violence Command Centre: Call 0800 428 428 or dial *120*7867#
  • National Shelter Movement (24 hour line): 0800 001 005 
  • Police: 10111
  • Department of Social Development Toll Free line: 0800 220 250
  • Department of Social Development Email: GBV365DAYS@westerncape.gov.za / SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za
  • SASSA 0800 60 10 11

All members of the public are encouraged to get involved by joining the conversation and using the hashtags #EndHumanTrafficking and #HumanTrafficking on all social media platforms

For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below:


Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949

Email: Joshua.chigome@westerncape.gov.za