SAED tackles scourge of human trafficking in South Africa

21 April 2021

South Africa has become a prime operational destination for international trafficking syndicate. According to the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline’s current statistics, the sad reality is that only 1% of all victims are ever rescued. A21 South Africa operates the hotline in partnership with other service providers.

On Friday, 16 April 2021, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Directorate of Student Affairs and Extracurricular Development hosted a virtual round table discussion on Human Trafficking in partnership with the National Department of State Security.

Newsroom Afrika’s News Anchor and Managing Editor: Output Bongiwe Zwane facilitated the event with panellists Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Engagement, Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, and the Director of Student Governance and Leadership Development Mr Gugulethu Xaba.

In her opening remarks, Dr Papu-Zamxaka said the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean still provide a gateway for the forceful removal of Africans to enrich their captors.

“Even today we see commonalities in the way in which the oceans surrounding Africa are used for trade and economic development. However, there are those who still see an opportunity to exploit Africans through slave trade to different parts of the world.”

She added that the most disheartening part of this criminal trade is that people they know and trust mostly recruit victims.

According to Thabo Mokwena, Special Advisor to the Minister of State Security, syndicates dealing in human trafficking find it extremely easy to carry out their illicit activities in SA, due to the easy availability of fraudulent travel documents and high levels of corruption at the points of entry.

“Corruption and other crimes linked to trafficking undermine governments, reduce accountability and representation in policymaking, suspend the rule of law and result in unequal service provision,” he said.

He added that the South African government is aware of the manifestation of human trafficking and has implemented an integrated approach at departmental level, as well as collaboration with civil society to deal with the problem.

“The State Security Agency (SSA) medium-term National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 2019-2024, has prioritised human trafficking and activities aimed at combating it. This finds expression in the Agency’s mitigating programmes in relation to uncontrolled migration.”

Xaba said that often students who pursue degrees at universities are survivors of human trafficking and abuse. According to him everyone, including students and staff are vulnerable to human trafficking.

“If we are not careful, we might find ourselves being victims one day,” he said.

For more on the event, watch here:

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