HUMAN TRAFFICKING, A SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC THREAT
By: Zimasa Magudu
Missing Children SA found that human trafficking is one of the biggest forms of crime in the world with a global estimate of 1.2 million children being trafficked each year
Every six hours a child gets missing in South Africa. This means that a staggering 1 460 children get missing per year according to Missing Children SA, an NGO that assists in raising awareness about this global threat and assists to find the victims. Since the dawn of democracy, more than 900 children who were reported missing have not been found.
“On a daily basis we are striving to make more and more people aware of the reality of human trafficking. We are sure that most cases reported to the South African Police Service as well as to our organization are because of human trafficking but at this stage this can’t be proven,” said researchers from MCSA in a report released in December 2013.
Children and women who get trafficked are commonly used for sexual exploitation, child labor, slavery, child marriage as well as drug smuggling in other countries.
In a survey conducted with students from the Durban University of Technology about whether enough effort is being put into fighting this threat, the overall view was that the government is not doing much to create awareness on this matter to investigate cases. They also believe that the media has a huge role to play .
“The only body that can catalyst communication about this issue is the media, so government needs to utilize the media in this regard,” said Mzwandile Mantshali. “It is an open secret that our government has not done enough to fight these butchering and prostitution of our beloved sisters but I believe that when there is no communication, that is a NO win situation,” he further added.
Also sharing the same sentiments was Siyondla Sithole who strongly felt that the media should be the driving force to combatting human trafficking.
“The media has a responsibility to raise this issue and for government to intensify its campaign by ploughing more resources,” he said.
There are many different circumstances under which children and women disappear. The awareness and investigation that goes into combating this socio-economic threat is questionable. Missing Children researchers say that there are many reasons and circumstances that children disappear under such as getting lost, run-aways, family/parental abduction and kidnapping by strangers.
According to the International Labor Organization, it is estimated that 32 billion dollars of profit is generated annually through human trafficking. This is at the expense of the innocent lives that fall victim to this crime. While there are organizations that play roles in combatting human trafficking, more can and should be done to ensure that our communities are safe and no generation of potential leaders will be lost.