Human trafficking

Human trafficking. Photo credit: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope

Alarm over rise of human trafficking cases in the Western Cape

According to the South Africa National Human Trafficking Resource Line 11 of the last 18 people rescue from human trafficking were in the Western Cape.

Human trafficking

Human trafficking. Photo credit: US Air Force Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope

The South Africa National Human Trafficking Resource Line is concerned by the high prevalence of human trafficking cases being reported in the Western Cape.

Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry

According to the manager of the hotline, Rene Hanekom, the majority of reported human trafficking cases over the last nine months have come from the Western Cape region.

“To date, our line has assisted 105 victims of trafficking in South Africa over the past three years. Over a period of nine months, we had 18 rescues and of those 18, 11 were in the Western Cape,” she said, according to IOL.

According to A21, a non-profit organisation with the goal of ridding the world of slavery, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world and generates in excess of $150 billion per year for those involved.

So it is not a problem that is just going to go away on its own.

Tiny percentage of victims are rescued

A21 believes that only 1% of trafficking victims are rescued, but this number can be bolstered by a number of factors.

“How many are recovered and assisted largely depends on the public identifying victims and even victims self-identifying. The Global Slavery Index of last year estimated that there are 155 000 people living in modern slavery in South Africa,” Hanekom explained.

“We have seen people trafficked through false job opportunities, sold by family members or by friends. Another common method is being trafficked through false relationships,” she said.

Preying on the most vulnerable members of society

The method of trafficking goes a long way to explain the age groups affected too as people in their early 20s are often entering the workforce for the first time and searching for a partner to settle down with, which leaves them vulnerable.

“People who are uneducated, unemployed, homeless, children in care/foster care, people living in poverty who have a poor quality of life, people suffering from economic imbalances, unstable social and political conditions, war, undocumented migrants, people who have cultural and language difficulties, people suffering from substance addictions. Many victims are hidden in plain sight,” added Hanekom.