According to the Department of Home Affairs, 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year. 50% of these minors are under the age of 14.
Whether these stats are inflated or not human trafficking is a frightening reality that occurs across the globe. Armed with the right knowledge and skills vulnerable communities can avoid falling into this trap. Red Light, a Durban NPO specialising in human trafficking, recently shed some light on this hidden crime with the Life Skills learners and Amaoti youth workers, helping our life skills learners to protect themselves against this modern form of slavery.
As the fastest growing enterprise in the world human trafficking comes in many different forms including the sex trade, medical exploitation and cheap and manipulative labour. Since children are the most vulnerable and most easily preyed on, 80% of trafficked victims are girls between 5-15 years old*, it is vital for learners to understand the methods of human trafficking and how they can protect themselves against it.
Lungelo Dakile visited our youth workers to equip them on how to teach about human trafficking during their life skills lessons. She also has visited the three schools in Amaoti to teach the learners about the realites of humantrafficking.
She said, “There’s a lot of ignorance and naivety surrounding human trafficking. The reality is that most of the learners have probably heard of someone missing but were unsure of the circumstances surrounding it. For example they might have heard of a young girl who left the rural areas to go work in the city. What they don’t necessarily realise is that she’s probably under the legal age to work and most likely working in terrible conditions.”
“Once you define what human trafficking is learners can start to see that it’s illegal. Then you can start talking about it on a deeper level and show them how to avoid falling into the same traps It’s important to remember that human trafficking is not gender based and the number of young boys being sold into prostitution is increasing too.”
Lungelo would love the learners to leave their lessons knowing, “That they have a voice and that they can stand in the gap, even if it’s the small things to prevent that happening in their communities and families. change doesn’t necessarily have to be huge but it starts off small and gradually grows into something powerful.”
Arm yourself with knowledge about human trafficking
-Some of the main causes of human trafficking are rooted in poverty, unemployment, a a corrupt governance, political instability, organized crime and armed conflict.
-The sex trade is one of the major drivers of human trafficking.
-Medical exploitation, such as trading in human organs, is another major form of human trafficking.
-The high demand for cheap labour has contributed in mostly victims from poor and rural communities being tricked into human trafficking.
-Since most of human trafficking is directed towards children (especially the sex trade), many are left with poor communication and social skills as well as a lack of schooling and education.
-Victims are also left severely traumatised and a great deal of psychological damage. In most cases there is also the clear evidence of physical damage caused by abuse, punishment and often the sadistic nature of their clients.
-If you hear anything you think is related to human trafficking you should tell the police.