GBVF and Human Trafficking has been steadily increasing over the past 5 years but more so since Covid-19 Pandemic. The consequence of lockdown being a major economic downturn, which resultantly impacted very negatively on Socio-Economic conditions plundering many into poverty making people vulnerable to the evils of Human Trafficking and GBVF and thus the statistics of these atrocities have spiked since.
GBVF is South Africa’s second Pandemic and in fact, the rest of the world is not far off from this. Domestic Violence has especially increased during the Covid-19 lockdown as frustration and depression levels have maximised. Forced Labour and sex trafficking have increased as Traffickers thrive in situations like the world is experiencing with Covid-19 by preying on peoples vulnerabilities.
In the past month alone, to mention a few amongst many cases of human trafficking. Three weeks ago in Sandton 3 girls were rescued from sex trafficking. They were being held in an apartment after being lured from Upington to Sandton and used for prostitution. Last week a 13-year-old was rescued from sex trafficking too in the Vaal area. She was allegedly kidnapped and about to be sold to a human trafficking syndicate by her step-mother and step-grandmother for R40 million. In East London, 3 weeks ago, a 13-year-old down syndrome girl and a 15-year-old boy was rescued from sex trafficking after their mother sold them to two shop owners in Keiskammahoek. In all these cases perpetrators have been arrested.
Gender-Based Violence cases in the past month to mention a few. Last week, ACT Africa received two calls for help against extreme domestic violence in less than 5 days. In both cases, alcohol was a huge driver and the men after being intoxicated became very abusive towards their wives, threatening to kill them. Last week Thursday a woman was beaten and burnt to death in Walkerville. Two weeks ago in Kwazulu Natal an 11-year-old was allegedly raped by her teacher in the toilet and threatened to be killed if she reported the matter to anyone. Lerato Nkadimeng was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend, her funeral was on 6 June 2021.
The Press Conference held at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton on 24 June, highlighted programmes to help men, offered by some of the organisations participating at the International Men’s Gender-Based Violence Conference on 18 September, which aims to address these atrocities by together with the men attending to find tangible solutions to break these cycles and to provide at the conference help for perpetrators and abused to receive the needed help from the various organisations present like NICDAM, SADAG, SANCA, FAN, MADA and Come Back Mission for continued assistance to break the cycle of abuse in their lives.
How Child Trafficking Affects Human Rights
Child trafficking is a form of human trafficking that is the recruitment, transportation, or prostitution of children. It is the form of kidnapping a child for slavery, forced child labour and, exploitation of children. 1 in 3 victims of human trafficking are children which means that 27% of trafficking victims are child victims worldwide. Studies have proven that the average age of child sex trafficking is between the ages of 11 to 14.
Child trafficking often happens more in developing countries than it does in developed countries as there is less victim assistance from the department of justice.
What are the causes of child trafficking?
Poverty is one of the highest causes of child trafficking. Sadly, when impoverished families have children, sometimes they have no other option but to abandon their children. In such cases usually, one of two things happen. The child is usually orphaned or left as an easy target for child trafficking. A huge percentage of the abduction of children are usually on the streets. This sadly makes it easier for human traffickers to not get caught. This is because law enforcement is not contacted nearly enough about the whereabouts of abandoned children. As well as that, these children are usually convinced that they will be coming into a better life than the one they currently have on the streets.
Lack of education
When children have a lack of education it creates more vulnerability for them towards commercial sexual exploitation. It is easier to make false promises to children who are illiterate and are being promised forms of income.
No birth records
Although having birth records is required, statistics show that there are about 40 million children born every year without them. This means that there is no official record of these children. This also means that these children are not being tracked by any government and are considered to be ghosts to the system that is meant to be there to protect them.
In times of crisis, when children are orphaned and lose their parents this also makes it a vulnerable time for them to be exposed to things like trafficking. When children are vulnerable in times of losing their parents they can also be persuaded quite easily into what they think would be a better lifestyle.
Lack of law enforcement
To have the laws in place doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. To enforce the law on human trafficking monitoring is important. This involves identifying and tracking locations of suspected human traffickers, and unfortunately, police do not enforce the law enough to control trafficking.
These are just a few causes of human trafficking, and there are many many others.
What happens in child trafficking?
Child trafficking involves children being taken away from safety and are exploited. Exploited children and people are often forced into doing things that are illegal and don’t necessarily benefit them. The things involve some form of labor trafficking, sex usage, or they are just simply sold which is modern slavery.
How to identify child trafficking?
Many children and young people are exploited for trafficking every day. It isn’t always easy to look out for children and young people that are being trafficked, but here are a few signs to help locate potential victims that can help them become survivors.
- If the child or young person is living with an older person that is not a parent or a legal guardian. The older person could be the employer or the pimp.
- If the living conditions are poor.
- A high sign to pay attention to is if children or young people are living together in extremely cramped spaces.
- If the individual that could be a potential victim is not allowed to be communicated with alone.
- If the teen or child is being spoken to, and it seems that the answers that are being given are rehearsed or scripted.
- If there are visible signs of bruises this could indicate either physical or sexual abuse. It could also be caused by the use of force to partake in a commercial sex act or even the use of force to get the victim to be exploited.
- If the young person is extremely submissive or fearful.
- If the person is under 18 and is visibly partaking in prostitution.
How child trafficking affects children?
Child trafficking can detrimentally affect children. When children are trafficked they are often victims of acts of rape, physical abuse, mental abuse and this can affect not just their physical health, but their mental health as well.
Although children can be survivors of being trafficked, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are survivors of the aftermath. Children and young people who have been trafficked often are too young to understand that what has happened to them was abuse and was wrong.
Sometimes children and teens can be manipulated into believing that they are in a relationship with their abuser, which could lead them to defend their abuser in a court of law. Sometimes, their abuser could be a family member and have them convinced that what they are doing is out of love for them.
Sometimes they think that they have played a part in their abuse and therefore think that they have broken the law, which therefore makes them not want to come forward.
They can also feel extremely guilty for what they have endured and therefore feel extremely ashamed and would not want to come forward and get help, even if they have physically survived.
How do child traffickers operate?
Human traffickers often any resources that they can to lure their victims. Many internet sites are often used as tools for marketing children and young people. These internet sites are often underground or covered up by other marketing strategies.
They can also lure their victims using manipulation, by convincing them that what they are coming into is a better life. If that doesn’t work, they can also use means of threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception.
There are many other forms of how they lure their victims, but these are just a few.
How can child trafficking be prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no simple way that human trafficking can be just stopped, but there are ways that it can be prevented. Prevention is better than cure. Here are a few measures that can be taken to prevent child trafficking.
- By educating yourself. It is important to educate yourself on how traffickers operate and also to educate yourself on how you can locate potential victims.
- When signs are quite visible, it is best to not overthink and to either look further into it or alert someone that can.
- Raise awareness. It is important to either speak about it and maybe talk about it on your social media. This makes people more aware of what is happening and it can be further prevented and can even save lives.
- It is important to take action. If there are ways that the prosecution of a trafficker can come to life, it is important to find ways and means that this can happen.
Every single day people are trafficked. It is important to find ways that it can be stopped and that the lives of many people around the world can be saved and lives can be prevented from being jeopardized.