What is human trafficking?
It is the buying and selling of people for the purposes of exploitation. Men, women & children are trafficked for a variety of exploitative purposes.
These reasons can include:
• 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;
• labour exploitation – where victims are forced to work;
• exploitation in the sex industry or sex trafficking – where victims are forced into prostitution;
• harvesting of body parts;
• illegal adoption;
• debt bondage – forced to work as means to repay a loan.
How does trafficking happen?
Trafficking networks – 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 often identified by traffickers by the vulnerable circumstances that they find themselves in.
Arrival & deception
When victims arrive at the new location the following are common occurrences:
• their passports and identity documents are taken away;
• their movement is controlled and/or restricted
• 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.
What can I do if I know someone who may be a victim of trafficking?
• Report your suspicion to the South African Police Service: 10111.
• You can contact the Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777. This is a toll-free line that operates 24 hours 7 days a week.
• Report the matter to a social worker from the Department of Social Development.
The content on this page was last updated on 20 January 2020