Two out of every 1000 people in SA are trapped in modern-day slavery. NPO A21 has resolved to end this scourge through an awareness campaign that urges ordinary citizens to help victims.


How to spot the signs of human traffickin­g

The buying and selling of people for exploitati­on through forced labour, sex work and domestic slavery is the fastest-growing crime in the world.

Slavery is a $150 billion global industry, says the Internatio­nal Labour Organisati­on; 75 percent of victims are women. And it isn’t something that happens out there. The Global Slavery Index, a study of modern-day slavery, found that SA is home to about 155000 human traffickin­g victims. The Western Cape in particular is considered a source, transit area and destinatio­n for those forced into labour and sex traffickin­g.

Last year internatio­nal NPO A21 launched the ‘Can you see me?’ campaign, which includes hard-hitting videos that show how traffickin­g is happening right here and how to spot it. ‘We empower communitie­s to take steps to report suspicious behaviour,’ says A21 human traffickin­g hotline manager Rene Hanekom. ‘This includes

things like a house where there’s little activity during the day but is busy at night, or recruiters who offer dubious job opportunit­ies.’


Groups of people, usually from other countries, are recruited to work in factories and mines or on farms with the promise of lodgings and a salary. But once they arrive, they’re made to work for little or no pay, live in appalling conditions, are underfed and usually physically abused. Victims don’t have documentat­ion and are often scared to come forward.


This is when someone is enslaved in their home or someone else’s. Young people are often recruited by family members, lured with the promise of employment or a chance to study, only to find themselves as slaves for their ‘host family’.


Women are coaxed away from home by a boyfriend for a holiday, or by a friend who offers them a place to stay in the city or a job. Once they arrive, they’re delivered to a brothel, hooked on drugs and forced into prostituti­on.


• The person works excessive hours and is underpaid or not paid.

• No breaks are allowed or there are unusual work restrictio­ns.

• There’s no labour contract.

• They rely on their employer for accommodat­ion and transport.

• Labour laws are disregarde­d.

• They don’t have access to money, or their ID or passports.

• They’re rarely seen outside the house, even for special occasions.

*If you suspect traffickin­g activity, call the SA National Human Traffickin­g Resource Line on 0800 222 777. Go to canyouseem­e.net for more info.

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