Recently I was contacted by a long lost friend and she had come back to the land of the living with a shocking story. She is a victim of human trafficking. She has however managed to break away recently. I will be featuring her story in this blog but I thought I should share with you the fact on human trafficking. It is not only an African issue but affects all of us. Whoever you are please say no to this evil practice. Sometimes people are recruited without knowing to smuggle victims in and out of other countries.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad.
Elements of human trafficking
The Act (What is done)
Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons
The Means (How it is done)
Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim
The Purpose (Why it is done)
For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.
To ascertain whether a particular circumstance constitutes trafficking in persons, consider the definition of trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the constituent elements of the offense, as defined by relevant domestic legislation.
Human trafficking in
is a serious problem and warrants intervention on all fronts. Many African
States still do not have legislation on human trafficking, or only have laws
that criminalize some aspects of human trafficking (such as child trafficking).
Nearly 130,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa and 230,000 in the Middle East and
North Africa have been recruited into forced labour,
including sexual exploitation, as a result of human trafficking. These
estimates by the International Labour Organization paint a grim picture of
human trafficking in Africa. Although a large
number of victims of human trafficking of African origin are found within the
continent, many are also transported to Western Europe
and other parts of the world, according to a recent UNODC report on trafficking
in persons world wide
The report, Tsireledzani: Understanding the dimensions of human trafficking in southern Africa, says victims are mostly women, girls and boys trafficked for variety of purposes, including prostitution, pornography, domestic servitude, forced labour, begging, criminal activity (including drug trafficking), and trafficking for the removal of body parts (or muti).
Young boys are trafficked to smuggle drugs and for other criminal activities.
Research shows on the following:
Intercontinental trafficking (to
South Africa from outside of Africa).
from other African
countries. People are trafficked from within Africa across the extensive land
borders of South Africa South Africa,
mostly from Mozambique and Zimbabwe and to a lesser extent Malawi, Swaziland
Longer-distance trafficking involve victims trafficked from the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho Angola,
Rwanda, Kenya, Cameroon,
Nigeria and . All
documented cases in this last category are women trafficked for both sexual and
labour exploitation. Somalia
Domestic trafficking. The largest movement of trafficked people is from rural areas to cities. Women, girls and boys -and to a lesser extent, men - are the targets of traffickers for prostitution for the same purposes listed. The albino community was identified as vulnerable to human traffickers for the harvesting of body parts, due the belief of a ‘white' skin having potent powers.
Research shows trafficking in Southern Africa as rampant and destination countries include
Zimbabwe, Israel, Switzerland,
the Netherlands and Macau. In all cases, the victims were women trafficked
for either sexual exploitation, labour exploitation or forced marriage.
The study confirmed that, as elsewhere, women constitute the largest group of victims in human trafficking in
Southern Africa, with the main purpose of sexual
exploitation. Young girls are also trafficked for sexual exploitation because
they are perceived to present less of a risk in terms of HIV and AIDS and
because of the ‘sexual desirability of youth'.
Some of the findings include:
Human trafficking is driven by networks situated in source countries with links to
as the destination country.
Perpetrators and intermediaries include large organised-crime networks. South
African men with ex-military backgrounds work together with these syndicates. South
Relationship of human trafficking to other forms of crime
There is a distinct trafficking-narcotics nexus, as criminal syndicates are usually involved in several areas of illegal activities - including smuggling, weapons and narcotics trafficking. Trafficked women may also be involved in the ancillary line of selling drugs to their clients. In many cases of trafficking for sexual exploitation, victims are made dependent on narcotics to reduce their capacity to leave. Young boys are also trafficked to sell drugs.
Collusion of officials as facilitating factor
The collusion of border and other immigration officials is a key factor facilitating trafficking. Human trafficking syndicates target border posts where lax border controls and vulnerability to bribery enable the illegal transportation of a variety of goods. The Lebombo border was identified as one of the land ports of entry where these problems operate on a large scale. The same problems were cited regarding OR Tambo Airport.
Factors that facilitate and aggravate human trafficking in Southern Africa include poverty and inequality; the lack of educational and employment opportunities in surrounding countries and within the country; lax security at ports of entry; collusion of government officials; the lack of trained personnel to identify and handle trafficking cases; and societal beliefs that tolerate violence against women and children.
How to Help
Be aware that this is a crime that can be prevented and for those looking for greener pastures elsewhere be aware you can be duped into modern slavery. Virtually every country in the world is affected by these crimes. The challenge for all countries, rich and poor, is to target the criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.