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Human trafficking is a criminal offence

Written by Dineo Mrali and Noluthando Motswai
Human trafficking is a global criminal offence that affects countless victims.

Perpetrators use various methods to lure their victims, including offers of employment.

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) State Law Advisor Joseph Mogoshane said community members must visit their closest Department of Labour centre to validate job offers – especially those from outside their province or country.

“Any suspicious conduct by prospective employers or their agents must be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency,” said Mogoshane.

  He added that in some human trafficking cases, perpetrators use force and kidnap their victims.

Mogoshane said the Constitution clearly states that no one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.

 In a bid to fight the scourge of trafficking and give effect to South Africa’s obligation to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons - especially women and children - government introduced the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act.

“The Act aims to deal comprehensively with human trafficking, in all its forms, and provides for the protection of and assistance to victims of trafficking,” said Mogoshane.

How to identify a victim of human trafficking:

  • They are often unable to speak the local language.
  • They appear to be trapped in their job or the place they stay.
  • They may have bruises and other signs of physical abuse.
  • They do not have identification documents (passport, identity document, refugee or asylum papers).

Tips that will help prevent human trafficking:

  • Be wary of people – men and women - who say they have job opportunities that promise a lot of money in a short space of time.
  • Teach children to be careful of adults who try to befriend them, whether in person or via cell phone or Internet chat rooms.
  • Contact immigration officers at the Department of Home Affairs, who play an important role in preventing cross-border human trafficking.
  • Report places where you suspect trafficked people are kept (for example, brothels, farms, factories and shebeens) to the local authorities.

Useful contacts:

SAPS Crime Stop: 08600 10 111 or SMS Crime Line: 32211 to report traffickers.

Department of Social Development 24-hour Command Centre: 0800 428 428 (toll- free) – callers can speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling. Callers can also request a social worker from the command centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.

Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 424453 / 011 452-4110.
Email:info@childwelfaresa.org.za