COMMUNITY CENTRE FIGHTS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING
By: Nothando Mkhize
The Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre’s (UCEC) exhibition is aimed at fighting against human trafficking, exploitation and all kinds of violence.
This caught many people’s attention at the KZN Music Imbizo 2015 that was held at the Royal Hotel, Durban on the 27th of August 2015.
The UCEC is a non-profit and public benefit organisation that is actively involved in combating human trafficking. At the KZN Music Imbizo a realistic presentation of the awareness was displayed at the entrance by the centre’s volunteers posing as victims and perpetrators of human trafficking.
UCEC’s registered counsellor, Soraya Smith, said that they are grateful of the response the organisation is getting from the audience. Even though they are in a different kind of environment currently, but people need to know that they are living in a society whereby people would do just about anything for money.
“In most cases we help women and children who have been victims of prostitution, drug addicts, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and forced labour, who are in many cases poorly treated or poorly paid- if paid at all,” said Smith.
There are various other programmes that UCEC runs from its facilities that endow self-sustainability which include Impumelelo Crèche, Street Ministry, Shiloh House Temporary Relief Centre, feeding scheme, Vukuzenzele Basic Skills Training and others many others.
Thami Ntimbane, who is head of Street Ministry said, “On Friday nights, about 15 members of the ministry walk on the streets of Durban giving those that are slaves of prostitution and abuse help, to regain their lives back and also get them in contact with their families once they have been rehabilitated at our centre.”
They have had numerous awareness programmes during the course of this year, as well as some exciting ones like at the King Shaka International Airport, The Royal Show, schools, universities and FET colleges around KwaZulu- Natal. On the 8th of September ECEC will partner with the University of South Africa (UNISA), for an anti-human trafficking workshop and also have an educational presentation at the Psychological Society of South Africa on the 18th of September 2015.
The centre will be hosting its biggest Annual 5km Anti-Human Trafficking Walk on Sunday, 4 October 2015. The walk will start from the Green Hub, Blue Lagoon to the UCEC Shiloh Crisis Centre for abused women.
“At the walk, we will be having the first human trafficking stage play; opera singers, marimba band, and a play area for kids and also Terra Mtembu of The Sharks will be joining us in support of the campaign,” Smith announced.