Human trafficking

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

Trafficking: Signs to watch for in order to protect yourself and others

The South African Police Service (SAPS) wants the public to be aware of the dangers of human trafficking, which “a crime and a reality” in the country.

Human trafficking

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

Trafficking – a global crime phenomenon – is the illegal trade of human beings. Children, women and men are taken from their countries or home areas to someplace else where they are compelled into servitude through force or coercion by traffickers.

A21, which calls itself Abolitionists of the 21st century, define the practice, as modern slavery and claim there are more 40.3 million people enslaved across the world – more than any other time in history.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) says trafficking is a reality in the country – the practice has been a criminal offence since 9 August 2015 when The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act came into effect.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAFFICKING        

According to SAPS, these are how the victims of trafficking are exploited:

  • Sex trafficking: This form of trafficking includes prostitution, pornography, stripping and escort services – anything within the sex industry.
  • Non-commercial sex trafficking: Early marriage, forced marriage, compensation marriage, transactional marriage, temporary marriage or marriage for childbearing are all forms of exploitation for non-commercial sex purposes.
  • Maternity trafficking: This includes forced impregnation with the intention of selling or exploiting the child when they are born.
  • Forced labour and child labour: Domestic servitude, sweatshops, agricultural labour, construction labour or being forced to enlist in an armed force are some of the forms. People can also be forced into participating in begging and criminal activities.
  • Organ and body part trafficking: In this form of trafficking, the victim’s organs and body parts are illegally removed and sold.

HOW PEOPLE ARE TRAFFICKED

According to A21, victims are commonly recruited by the following means: false job advertisements, sold by the family, “loverboy” wherein a trafficker makes a victim fall in love with them, abduction, false immigration and more.

The police say trafficked people remain in these situations because they are entrapped. Physical entrapment is when traffickers limit their victims’ movement and confiscate their money and documentation.

Psychological and emotional entrapment entails intimidation through fear, violence, shame, threats of arrest, deportation and imprisonment and blackmail.

HOW TO SPOT A VICTIM

“Since trafficking in persons is often a crime that is hidden in plain sight, it is important to be aware of its warning signs,” said SAPS.

Malnourishment may be an indication that a person is a victim of this heinous crime. Bruises and other signs of physical injuries and abuse are another tell-tale sign. If the person avoids eye contact, social interaction and seems to be sticking to a script when speaking the alarm bells should be ringing.

SAPS say if the person seems to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol and is escorted by someone speaks for them, it is another red flag.

In terms of buildings, if the place is surrounded by security measures that seem to be in place to keep people trapped inside – such as barbed wire on the inside of a fence or bars inside windows – it could be a human trafficking site.