Hu­man traf­fick­ing vic­tim speaks out

Vuk'uzenzele - - Safyeotuyt&h Sfeocursity - Di­neo Mrali and No­luthando Motswai

GriZelDa GrOOtBOOm headed for Jo­han­nes­burg, from Cape Town, with the prom­ise of a job and a bright fu­ture.

Grootboom was only 18 years old when she was lured to Gaut­eng by a friend who promised her a good job. She soon re­alised that it was a lie and that she had been lured by hu­man traf­fick­ers.

“When I got there my friend led me to a house in Yeoville, where I was tied up. She told me that it was her place, so I believed her.”

Grootboom’s or­deal lasted two weeks. She was trapped in pros­ti­tu­tion and moved from one prov­ince to an­other by her cap­tures.

“I was taught how to strip and started us­ing drugs. I couldn’t go to the po­lice be­cause I was on drugs,” she said.

She was re­leased when her cap­tors re­cruited new girls, and landed up on the streets as a drug ad­dict.

Grootboom, now 36, even­tu­ally de­cided to book her­self into a drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre.

“I went into re­hab for one year, but af­ter fin­ish­ing I ended up back on the streets be­cause I had nowhere to go. It took me about six years to get clean.”

At age 26, Grootboom was re­ferred to a shel­ter that takes care of aban­doned ba­bies.

“I worked there for a year. Af­ter that my spir­i­tual jour­ney started with the Sal­va­tion Army, which is when I gath­ered the strength to start my life again.”

The ex­pe­ri­ences and chal­lenges that she had en­coun­tered led her to become an ac­tivist and make peo­ple more aware of hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Grootboom’s life has changed. She now sup­ports fel­low sur­vivors who are un­der­go­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and she is the au­thor of a book, called Exit, which de­tails her life on the street.

Grizelda Grootboom is a hu­man traf­fick­ing sur­vivor. She now sup­ports fel­low sur­vivors.

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