Human Trafficking Awareness Week: MEC conducts shelter oversight visit
As part of our ongoing commemoration of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Adv. Albert Fritz, conducted an oversight visit to a shelter outside Cape Town which specializes in assisting victims of human trafficking.
The Department of Social Development (DSD) under the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), has a growing network of 16 funded shelters across the province, and invests R14-million in services for victims of Human Trafficking and domestic abuse.
The VEP provides safe accommodation for adult victims of human trafficking and their children at shelters. The shelter services provide for basic needs like food, clothing and security. The victims can also access psycho-social support, and access to other needed services like medical and legal assistance and skills development to enable economic empowerment.
Criminal traffickers are increasingly becoming organized crime syndicates, and use deceptive means to potentially abduct and traffick adults and children. This is why the DSD is part of the Provincial Human Trafficking Task Team, led by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
However given the complex and underground nature of trafficking, reliable statistics are difficult to come by, especially for children. However, the latest United States Trafficking in Persons annual report cited that in 2016 there were 11 convictions and 5 cases currently underway in South Africa.
A total of 103 victims of trafficking have been assisted this year nationally, compared to 41 in 2015.
The report further cites how, “South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Of great concern is that, “South Africans constitute the largest number of victims within the country”.
DSD is committed to working with our Provincial Task Team partners to fight human trafficking. MEC Fritz will continue his programme of oversight visits to human trafficking shelters this week.
Residents can report any missing adults or children to the police or to the DSD Hotline on 0800 220 250. Alternatively, the public can seek assistance from our social workers at any of our local offices closest to them.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za