The Reality of Human Trafficking in South Africa #MakeN1Safe. 24/11/2016

Published by WOMEN24

A group of women will take a symbolic stand against
human trafficking in South Africa with the launch of a powerful 16 Days
of Activism campaign.

For most people human trafficking evokes dramatic
images from thrillers or TV series and not something happening right
under their noses. Yet in South Africa human trafficking is a terrible
fate for thousands of victims.

Many people will be shocked to learn that it is happening daily along the busiest routes in our country.

Vulnerable
youth from poor communities along the N1 often fall prey to traffickers
who lure them with promises of a better life in big cities. Many labour
and sex trafficking victims don’t even know they are victims of a
crime.

With
the Put Your Foot Down Against Human Trafficking initiative the NPO
Anex (Activists networking against the exploitation of children) wants
to help destitute young people in the Karoo along the N1 route. 

“There
is a great need for alternative care for children whose home
circumstances have deteriorated to a point where a court orders them to
be taken into care.”

In recent years grim details have
emerged about the increase in the number of children being abused and
trafficked from towns such as Beaufort West, Leeu Gamka and Laingsburg.
Anex works tirelessly to prevent trafficking in children and child
labour.

Anex
has joined forces with four NPO’s – Women’sNet, Girl’sNet, 1000 Women’s
Trust and Put Your Foot Down – to raise awareness about this tragic
situation during 16 Days of Activism starting on 25 November. 

With
the @PutYourFootDown (@SitJouVoetNeer on Facebook) campaign the aim is
to inform the public and to empower vulnerable youth.

The
@PutYourFootDown initiative was started last year by 15-year old Kara
van der Merwe to raise awareness about sexual abuse of children. The
organizers will work closely with trucking and transport companies to
help address the issue of human trafficking and to encourage truck
drivers to make the N1 safe. 

In order to find a lasting solution
to help victims and vulnerable youth, Anex will open a much needed Child
and Youth Centre in Murraysburg in 2017. The Anex house will serve as a
safe haven for 40 youth who need temporary care within the Eden Karoo.

“There
is a great need for alternative care for children whose home
circumstances have deteriorated to a point where a court orders them to
be taken into care,” says Claudia Burger, programme director of Anex.

"The
Anex house will be furnished in a way that is comfortable and child
friendly, but not too far removed from the children’s own
circumstances."

“At present the closest centre where such
vulnerable children from the Eden and Central Karoo district can be
accommodated is in George.”

The house in Murraysburg will not
only be a shelter for children, but a family resource centre for the
whole community, Burger explains. “We want to help parents reconnect
with their children in an environment that is friendly and supportive.

Murraysburg has one of the poorest communities in the country and there are a lot of broken attachments in families.

The
best way to help these kids is if we also reach out to their struggling
parents, without making them feel inadequate. Everybody comes with
their own trauma and in many cases parents simply can’t give children
the care they need or provide them with security.”

The Anex house
will be furnished in a way that is comfortable and child friendly, but
not too far removed from the children’s own circumstances, Burger says.

There
will be a food garden and various facilities and programmes are
envisioned to educate and empower the community. “We will host events
that involve parents and the broader community and we will also ask
businesses to come on board to support the initiative.”

How you can help:

1.
Take a stand: Show your support for the "Put your foot down against
human trafficking" campaign on social media. Ask your friends and family
to also join in and post a photo of their feet on our Facebook page
@Sit Jou Voet Neer.

2. Donate household goods to the Anex safe
house: For the 16 Days of Activism campaign we’re asking people who
travel along the N1 route to help us furnish the safe house for young
victims of trafficking and vulnerable youth in Murraysburg.

From 6
to 10 December we’ll have an information kiosk at the truck stop in
Beaufort West where you can drop off old clothes, toys furniture,
curtains, kitchen utensils, linen, pots and pans – anything we can use
to make the house a welcoming home for kids in need. You can also take a
photo of your feet at the truck stop.

3.Support our runners along
the N1: On 6 December a group of long distance runners will depart from
Rawsonville to run along the N1 route to Beaufort West.

Watch
out for the runners as they stop at towns such as Touwsriver, Laingsburg
and Leeu Gamka to spread the message about preventing human
trafficking.

The runners will look for sponsorships to carry the
cost of the symbolic journey back to the Karoo heartland from where many
people are trafficked to Cape Town.

There are still a few seats
available for our 1000Women1Voice luncheon in Johannesburg on Thursday
24 November at 10:00 in in ULP House, 177 Kruger Road in Midrand.
Contact Melanie Daniels (info@1000women.co.za / 021 782 881) if you want
to buy a ticket.

The 1000 Women Trust mobilizes resources to
provide access to skills, leadership capacity building and provide seed
funding to women-led organisations.