Following the reports of femicides that have shaken our country and have rendered the safety of women null and void, it’s an unfortunate reality that the worst still looms throughout our country in the form of human trafficking.
More and more posts appear on our social media feeds about missing individuals and about the different syndicates and techniques that traffickers use to abduct people.
In the past few years, these stories were at an all-time high, with many women posting about cases of attempted abductions, but now the reality of these cases and horror stories is not just a form of social media hysteria.
In the previous month, there were reports of 46 women found in a room in what seemed to be a human trafficking syndicate.
Among these was a woman who was reported missing since the 13th of May, in addition to those who had been kept in that room since January.
There are many more missing women that we see on social media and hear about in the news, and the thought that these individuals are being exploited and violated for various probable reasons is a chilling one.
"Trafficking is basically modern-day slavery", says Charlotte Riggs*, the executive chairperson of Love Justice, an organisation against human trafficking. It can happen through a number of means such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced marriages, and organ trafficking, she says.
"Basically how traffickers work is they work on deception. So they will primarily trick people into believing that they're coming for a job or for marriage or for education.
They bring people across boarders or across different parts of the country where they will then force them to do want." Traffickers will either beat, rape, or drug the people they target in order to get them to comply.
Love Justice focuses on the trafficking of people into South Africa from other countries, but she adds that there are cases of South Africans being trafficked to other countries and within South Africa between rural areas and cities.
While vigilance is often endorsed, the safety of women in South Africa is unfortunately never guaranteed, especially when human trafficking syndicates apparently employ other women to abduct their targets.
There are many other ways through which human traffickers lure their victims in, so report any suspicious activity when you're notice something amiss - it could save someone's life.
The video below is of a woman who escaped human trafficking.
Trigger warning: Sensitive content ahead.
*Name has been changed.
If you need any assistance regarding a human trafficking issue, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline on 0800 222 777
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