EVERYDAY social media sites are inundated with stories of young women who are lured to job interviews only to be abducted and forced into sex work. About two weeks ago, a young woman posted of her ordeal on Facebook and the post was later sent to us at UnCensored.
We also recently received a list of alleged human trafficking hubs in Johannesburg. It is alleged that job seekers are lured to interviews and then abducted into the sex trade.
Given that the list had 34 alleged hubs, the process of verification became cumbersome given our limited resources. Yesterday, I raised the matter with South African Police Services (SAPS) in an effort to verify whether these “businesses” were legitimate or not. After being sent from pillar to post, I posted the issue on Twitter this morning without publishing the list of the alleged human trafficking hubs. Colonel Mogale, who is in the corporate communication section of SAPS, did’t even sound like she would do anything about it, even though she did mention she is “waiting” for my email. And so, Im not surprised she hasnt come back to me about anything.
I further sent the list to the City Of Johannesburg’s Executive Mayor Geoff Makhubo and he responded to say the matter was sent to Public Safety and they shall contact me “if necessary”.
I also contacted the National Freedom Network, a network of organisations that work with human trafficking and one of the services they offer is verifying job opportunity scams. They advise job seekers to contact their National Emergency Hotline on 0800-222-777 before they go for interviews. And they did confirm they receive a lot of job opportunity scams. They have promised to check the list and we shall update.
So, given our limited resources against what may well be a danger to the young, unsuspecting people, largely women, who are always forced into these situations due to poverty and unemployment, we shall publish this list.
South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for forced labour and sex trafficking. Unemployment and demand are big factors, and children are often a primary target. Traffickers can be as young as the victims. Report to SAPS 10111, or to the National Freedom Network Hotline: 0800 222 777 #endslavery