General News

Rare human trafficking finds haven in SA

Date: Aug 25, 2017

South Africa has become one of the lucrative destinations for human trafficking in the continent.

The victims of these cruel activities are mostly unsuspecting nationals from South Africa’s neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi.

These victims are lured to non-existent jobs and marriages. Upon arrival in South Africa, most of them do not reach their dream destinations, with many involved in ransom exchanges and sexual exploitations.

In July this year, Maria (not her real name), a Malawian young woman left her country in the belief that she was going to secure a job in South Africa, albeit any travel documentations. She travelled from Malawi to Beitbridge (a border town between Zimbabwe and South Africa) in what looked like a normal bus, only to be put in a Quantum mini bus at the border post.

Together with other men and women, they travelled all night towards Johannesburg to an unknown destination in Hillbrow. To their surprise, they were accosted by people who demanded ransom money for their release. Maria was told to call anybody she knew in Johannesburg who would release her upon paying a ransom for her.

She relates incidents of torture to those who could not afford the ransom, and were later introduced to other men. These men were brought in together with other would-be suitors to choose women for themselves.

To curb these tendencies, MAGSA, a South African-based Malawian advocacy group that seeks to address issues of human rights and human trafficking, has embarked on a campaign to sensitise people around the unscrupulous ways of making a living at the expense of unsuspecting citizens.

“We are trying to work with South African law enforcement and government agencies to curb these inhuman tendencies “, says Greyson Luhanga, Spokesperson of the group.

Luhanga further says until corrupt officials in law enforcement agencies in the country are rounded up, South Africa will always be a haven of such criminal activities. ”But we also appreciate the zeal,  shown by the police stations we have visited and engaged, on these issues, Welkom in Free State, and Johannesburg in Gauteng ” he adds.

--Sydney Katunga Phiri--

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