Stats indicate a significant increase in human trafficking

The Trafficking in Persons annual report says 83 people across the country fell victim to human trafficking in the 2021/22 financial year.

In the 2021/22 financial year, 67 more people were victims of human trafficking compared to the previous year’s statistics.

That is according to the latest Trafficking in Persons annual report that shows 83 people in South Africa were victims of human trafficking in the financial year.

Human trafficking remains an issue that requires a concerted effort according to Busi Kheswa of the Gauteng Department of Social Development.

“Trafficking thrives in communities where there is instability. Factors such as a lack of food, water, education and infrastructure all create the vulnerability needed for traffickers to exploit the most vulnerable, such as children,” said Kheswa.

Kheswa added that trafficked victims are subjected to the worst forms of exploitation as they are robbed not only of the fruit of their labour but also of all their rights and freedoms.

“The abuse, destructive nature of the crime and the sheer volume of the problem leads us to believe that trafficking is one of the greatest injustices in the world.”

In terms of Section 4 of the Trafficking in Persons Act 7/2013, human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

The use of force, coercion, abduction and abuse of power to receive payments to achieve control over another to exploit their labour all form part of the trafficker’s objective.

“Exploitation includes prostitution or other forms of sexual abuse, forced labour, slavery, servitude or the removal of organs for black market trading,” said Khewsa.

“The provincial Department of Social Development is mandated to provide measures, to protect and assist victims.”

Services that form part of the department’s mandate include:

• Identification and protection of victims.
• Provision of safe care both temporary and long term.
• Accreditation of shelters.
• Assessment of victims.
• Monitoring and evaluation of service delivery.
• Training and capacity building.
• Prevention, education and awareness.
• Reporting.

“This kind of crime is complex, which includes a range of issues such as migration, organised crime, criminal syndicates and drug cartels,” she said

“Human trafficking happens at any time or place and can often be in the form of domestic work where victims’ movement is restricted and duties are performed under draconian supervision.”

Reports further indicate that victims’ personal belongings, including identity documents, are confiscated by their handlers to maintain control.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected act of human trafficking to the national human trafficking resource line on 0800 222 777 or the GBV command centre on 0800 428 428.

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