Umm Muhammed Umar
A new campaign has been launched highlighting the human traffic recruitment hotspots in Gauteng. In the last few years South Africa has been noted as a crossroads, as a vantage point of human trafficking, especially for people coming from across Africa, relocating them to other parts of the world. Springs, Fordsburg, Krugersdorp, Sunnyside, Florida, and Vanderbijl Park are all regarded as human trafficking hotspots. The campaign estimated 2.8 out of every 1000 people living in the continent, are living in some form of modern-day slavery. Radio Islam spoke to Lumka Ngongani, of #THETRAFFICYOUNEEDTOKNOW, an NGO that fights human trafficking.
Ngongani said as much as the campaign highlights specific hotspots in Gauteng, there are various other areas in South Africa where they have seen a rise in trafficking cases. Additional information taken from the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN as most prevalent.
Human trafficking, in layman’s terms, modern day slavery is simply the buying and selling of people, and is very lucrative. Ngongani said, “So if you buy a commodity such as bread, or milk, you can only use it once and then it’s used up. But in the industry of human trafficking, where people are being exploited either for their labour or for sexual exploitation, an individual can be sold over and over again. And that makes it a very lucrative business for traffickers.”
There are different types of trafficking. Ngongani said that aside from sexual exploitation, there is forced labour present in the agriculture industry; in the mining industry individuals could potentially be brought into the country for their labour, where they are being forced to perform labour with no pay or very minimal pay. She said, “their living conditions are not conducive at all – they’re forced to work long hours, and there’s no contract in place. And in most cases, this happens through deception when individual applies to a job opportunity, being told what the job entails, but upon arrival, this is find that the circumstances are totally different.” She added that they had come across cases where, “individuals were forced domestic workers, (faced) long hours, daunting work, where they’re not being paid, and you find that the health care is also compromised, because they’vebeen held unable to move around, not allowed to exit the premises.”
Ngongani said that in terms of children’s specifically, there’s a lot of online grooming. She said that due to the pandemic, we’re all forced to be at home, and that also meant that people are mostly using the mobile cell phones, and using social media. Ngongani said, “And this is where recruiters and traffickers actually prey on the victims, so they would use social media for example, to groom young children and once they’ve gained a trusting relationship, then they start isolating them, exploiting them, for various purposes.” She added, “it becomes important as a parent that you please educate your child on dangers of online grooming, and we do have multiple resources on our website.”