Yesterday was the start of Human Trafficking Awareness Week, which runs from the 2nd to the 6th October 2017.
Press release: Statement by Albert Fritz Western Cape Minister of Social Development: “The Western Cape Department of Social Development will commemorate the period, joined by our key specialist NGO partners, to lead a silent protest on Wednesday (04th Sept.) along St. Georges Mall in Cape Town to raise awareness about the dangers of human trafficking.
South Africa continues to be a source, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking. Criminal traffickers are increasingly becoming organized crime syndicates, and use deceptive means to potentially abduct and traffick adults and children.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) continues to warn the public, especially parents, to be extra vigilant.
Nationally, the social development department has dealt with 220 cases of human trafficking in 2016.
As a province, we have also dealt with cases of trafficking, including a case last year of five young boys from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), who had been recruited and deceived into travelling to Cape Town under the impression of having secured places at a top soccer club’s training academy.
More recently, in August this year, the Department intervened in a case of a 22 year-old woman from Gauteng who was trafficked to Cape Town for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
Given the complex and underground nature of trafficking, reliable statistics are difficult to come by, especially for children. However, research conducted in the Trafficking in Persons in the SADC Region: Baseline Report: 2016 shows that poverty & unemployment are viewed as the primary push factors behind the trafficking of persons in SA.
To combat human trafficking, the provincial DSD is a member of the Western Cape Provincial Trafficking in Persons Task Team.
This sees us work closely with our partners the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, the International Organization for Migration, and specialist NGOs, which we fund to render services.
The Task Team shares best practices; addresses challenges in process flow and contributes to the capacitation of the sector. DSD is responsible for the identification of Victims of Trafficking and the provision of safe space/care in the form of shelters (shelter services includes the provision of psycho-social services).
DSD has allocated just over R27.7-million for shelter services under the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP).
The VEP provides safe accommodation for adult victims of human trafficking and their children through a growing network of 16 shelters, across the province.
The shelter services provide for basic needs like food, clothing and security. The victims can also access psycho-social support, and other needed services like medical and legal assistance and skills development to enable economic empowerment.
Residents can report any suspected cases of trafficked women and/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.”