Local human trafficking scourge in focus

AWARENESS DRIVE: EC Hawks spokesperson captain Yoliswa Mgolodela, centre and Free State trafficking in persons coordinator Lynda Steyn educate Benny Ngenyane from Machibini in Nonesi Mall, Komani Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

The Hawks embarked on a human trafficking awareness campaign in Chris Hani this week, as the district is currently one of the regions affected by the problem,
which includes children.

The campaign was led by EC Hawks spokesperson captain Yoliswa Mgolodela,representative captain Lulama Jack and Petros Majola of children’s rights organisation Khula Community Development.

Majola said: ”We had an incident where a woman from Ezibeleni sold her 11- year-old daughter to marry a 65-year-old man for money.’’

He said in Cala, a woman was currently in court for having sold her baby.

Another case he mentioned was that of three women who were sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment for trafficking a 12-year-old girl for sex to a Bangladeshi in Whittlesea for money.

‘’The Bungladeshi man was sentenced to life imprisonment for raping the girl, Majola said.

Mgolodela said: ”Human trafficking affects people in a number of ways.

”Some are made sex slaves, others are exploited through hard labour while others are forced to become porn stars and they use drugs.

”Victims can be taken from their homes to other cities or countries. Sometimes you hear that someone was found dead with missing body parts.’’

She said some parents sold their daughters at a tender age for marriage to much older men, while other parents sold their children for sex to make money.

Mgolodela said the awareness campaign was embarked on to make locals people aware of the problem, as some become victims due to their lack of knowledge.

Poverty was one of the reasons behind the problem.

She said some victims fell pray  after responding to fake high paying jobs advertised on social media.

”We will also be meeting with traditional leaders because some of these cases occur in villages.’’

She advised that if people were suspicious of the legitimacy of a certain job or a bursary, they should report it to the police.

A meeting was set for this week to discuss matters concerning human trafficking in the region.

A roadblock was also held on the N6 to make motorists aware.

On Friday the awareness campaign concluded with the launch of a book by Zintle Feza, who was trafficked from Komani to Hillbrow in Johannesburg in 2011 at
the age of 16. The title of her book is `Neglected.