MOTLALENTOA Letsosa, the Minister of Home Affairs has warned members of the public to always be vigilant about human traffickers in their neighbourhoods, especially after the holiday season.
Jan. 4, 2022
2 min read
Letsosa warns nation to stay vigilant against human traffickers
Minister of Home Affairs, Motlalentoa Letsosa
- High number of human trafficking cases reported during Christmas holiday
- Victims end up as lowly paid labourers or sex workers in SA and elsewhere
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He said several human trafficking cases were reported during the Christmas holidays, adding that it was due to escalating rate of unemployment in the country that was exacerbated by the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
He said most human trafficking victims always ended up as lowly paid labourers or work slaves in South Africa and elsewhere.
“If there is one thing that we have learned in the past years, is that human trafficking does not stop during a pandemic. The concurrence of the increased number of individuals at risk, the traffickers’ ability to capitalise on competing crisis, and the diversion of resources to pandemic response efforts have resulted in an ideal environment for human trafficking to flourish and evolve,'' he said.
Some of the telltale signs, he said of trafficked persons included older people who would be travelling with young children that did not appear to be related.
“Sometimes the older person will travel with children that speak a different language from them and these children often look worried and confused,” he noted.
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He added: “Traffickers want to ensure that their victims do not escape therefore, they will closely guard them, not allowing them to roam freely in the airport or at the borders. The children may have signs of physical abuse including bruises, burns, and scars. They may also look malnourished.”
The minister further explained that the traffickers would want to ensure that their victims were enslaved.
“A victim of human trafficking will rarely make eye contact to avoid any casual conversation. Some traffickers coach their victims on what to say and how to act during travel to ensure that they do not escape,” he said, pleading with the public to always stay vigilant for such signs.
“It is important to notify the authority when such signs or people are seen anywhere,” he also noted. LeNA