(as understood by a grade 12 student at St Peters College)
Human Trafficking is a massive epidemic which needs to be addressed. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates 248,700 people live in conditions of modern slavery in South Africa. However, numbers and statistics are a superficial way of trying to understand the seriousness and complexity of the issue. In South Africa the increase, especially in the sex trade is a part of a ripple effect of poverty, racism, unemployment, inequality and most importantly education. Education has many facets but possibly the most accessible for any person anywhere is education through awareness.
Many victims do not know what human trafficking is! There are cultures where the children grow up without an understanding of the reality of human trafficking. Ukuthulwa – which means “to carry” in isiXhosa and isiZulu has three forms and the most aggressive one involves a girl being taken by force and against her will to her ‘suitors’ home to prepare for marriage. This paves the way for human rights violations and rape.
There are so many more factors that coincide with human trafficking that go to a mental health level whereby victims are manipulated, groomed and isolated. While poorer communities are more vulnerable to human trafficking nobody is truly safe and therefore the only solution is to unite as communities and as a nation to be informed. Children need to know what their rights are, and bystanders need to be aware of the warning signs. This is an epidemic which needs constant attention and organisations such as the National Freedom Network not only offers insight but ways in which, no matter what your place is in your community, you can step in and make a difference.
6 April 2018