How traffickers entice victims

TRAUMATIC: Two women, Margaret and Doris (not their real names), who are believed to have been trafficked, pose for a picture
TRAUMATIC: Two women, Margaret and Doris (not their real names), who are believed to have been trafficked, pose for a picture
In South Africa, more people are trafficked through the promise of better living conditions than those who are forcefully abducted.

This is according to former prosecutor and seasoned researcher in human trafficking, Professor Beatri Kruger who was speaking to a group of law students and lawyers in East London on Thursday.

“Never think you’ll never be a human trafficker’s next victim; it can happen to anyone.”

Kruger was giving a talk about the rise of trafficking cases in South Africa during an information session with some members of the East London legal fraternity.

“It is a myth to say that only uneducated people from rural areas are susceptible to being trafficked for cultural purposes. The mistake most people make when thinking about human trafficking is assuming that recruiters are immediately identifiable. They’re not, and instead look just like us.”

The Daily Dispatch reported in January that a 22-year-old beauty assistant from Peddie had been rescued before she could be smuggled out of the country by human traffickers on the pretext that there was a job for her in Uganda.

Kruger said although laws and legislation had been implemented in South Africa to combat and prevent human trafficking, it was on the rise as more young people fell prey to the promise of a better future.

“There is a market in our country because unemployment and poverty are so high. Traffickers are experts in selling dreams.”

She said another increasing phenomenon was the involvement of women in luring other women into trafficking rings. “Female-to-female luring smoothes the process because women present a motherly and therefore more trustable figure.”

Kruger said not enough was currently being done in South Africa to highlight the reality of trafficking.

“Not enough is being done to fully protect our citizens. We expect visible chains that will immediately alert us of trafficking practices in the country, but it’s scary just how invisible they are.”

Fort Hare law students Nwabisa Sobekwa and Zenande Njongi said it was fascinating hearing about how easy entrapment into trafficking was.

“We always think ‘it won’t happen to me’, but we’re broke and always searching for better opportunities to make money, so it’s simple to get lured away. I know of people who’ve gone missing back in the village where I come from, but we hardly think of the reality of being trafficked.

“I wish more young people knew how at risk we actually are,” Sobekwa said. —


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