Human Trafficking – A modern day form of slavery

Many of us, when we think of slavery, think of the Trans-Atlantic slave-trade by the Europeans of African slaves. Abolished in the 19th century, slavery does not exist anymore in our modern times, does it? Human trafficking is modern day slavery! As society we cannot turn a blind eye to it. Human trafficking is said to be the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide. Human trafficking is not a first-world, second-world or third-world problem; it is a global problem.

Human trafficking is real

Exploitation include the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

April 25, 2018

Human trafficking can be defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers in their own countries and abroad.

Elements of human trafficking

Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

Elements of human trafficking can be seen in three constituent elements:

The act (what is done)
Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

The means (how it is done)
Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.

The purpose (why it is done)
For the purpose of exploitation, which include exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

Human trafficking in South Africa

Human trafficking is also a problem in the country of South Africa. As the African country with one of the biggest economy in the whole continent of Africa, South Africa is a destination country for human trafficking victims from the neighbouring countries. South Africa is also a country of transport for human traffickers. Despite the title of one of the biggest economies in Africa, South African society is marked by great social inequality which leaves many of those from a poorer social background vulnerable to traffickers who approach their victims with promises of a job, an income and a better future. Many fall victim to these traffickers. The great majority of victims of human trafficking in South Africa are not immigrants from other countries but South Africans.

Human trafficking in Nelspruit

As the capital city of the province of Mpumalanga and a situated on the Maputo Corridor, a corridor connecting the capital city of Mozambique with the city of Johannesburg in South Africa, Nelspruit faces a huge challenge in combatting human trafficking.

The Maputo Corridor is according to reports a known trafficking route used by traffickers to transport Mozambican human trafficking victims from Mozambique into South Africa. Other reports have also stated that traffickers will recruit trafficking victims in Nelspruit and transport them to Johannesburg and vice versa.



Law against human trafficking

In 2013 the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act came into force. This law gives offers a holistic approach to combat human trafficking in South Africa.

The South African law defines human trafficking as follows in section 4 of the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2013:
(1) Any person who delivers, recruits, transports, transfers, harbours, sells, exchanges, leases or receives another person within or across the borders of the Republic, by means of –
(a) A threat of harm;
(b) The threat or use of force or other forms of coercion;
(c) The abuse of vulnerability;
(d) Fraud;
(e) Deception;
(f) Abduction;
(g) Kidnapping;
(h) The abuse of power;
(i) The direct or indirect giving or receiving of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of a person having control or authority over another person; or
(j)  The direct or indirect giving of receiving of payments, compensation, rewards, benefits, or any other advantage, aimed at either the person or an immediate family member of that person or any other person in close relationship to that person, for the purpose of any form or manner of exploitation, is guilty of the offence of trafficking in persons.

How We Help

Our aim is to traffick proof our region. When people in every community are aware of the danger, and know what to look out for, no-one in our area needs to become a victim. When officials are trained, no human trafficker should be allowed to continue with these nefarious deeds.

We are in contact with governmental departments such as Dept of Home Affairs, Dept of Social Development, the NPA and Dept of Justice in order to stay informed with regards to criminal activities and incidents in our area. We attend workshops and meetings where strategies are discussed and roles are defined.

We network with hospitals, SAPS, civil society and other organisations (such as the Salvation Army, STOP Trafficking, Missing Children SA and the National Freedom Network (NFN) – in order to raise awareness and stay informed.

The National Human trafficking Resource line is 0800 222 777 (managed by A21 campaign). You may contact this number to provide any information you may have if you suspect trafficking of people in your area, and you may do so anonymously.

You may also contact Dignity CONTACT US if you need us to assist in raising awareness in your area, or if you need information on how to address a matter of concern.

Communications officer of Umlazi SAPS, Cpt Carmen Rhynes said, “The community is urged to be on the lookout and aware that human trafficking is a real crime and it can happen to anyone. It is important to educate children and vulnerable persons in the community of the realities of human trafficking.”

She warned residents to not fall for anything that sounds too good to be true such as an employment overseas, soccer scholarships or modelling work, etc. Do not speak to strangers on social media. Do not meet with strangers from Facebook or other websites.

Do not hand over your passport or ID document over to anyone to secure a job. Do not be influenced and led by a stranger promising employment.

She added, “Check out businesses to verify their address and contact details. Do not leave your children unattended at any time in a public place. These are a few prevention tips to ensure human trafficking does not take place in your community.”

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