Pretoria (Agenzia Fides) - "Trafficking is not just being taken from one country to another country and then become a slave. Trafficking is when someone owns someone else’s life and exploiting it", said Jacqueline Fourie, foundress and president of Small Voice Human Trafficking, an NGO that fights against human trafficking in South Africa and Zambia, after the mass celebrated at St. Augustin parish in Silverston (Pretoria) on the occasion of the anniversary of Saint Bakhita. On the same day, the World Day of Prayer and Reflection Against Trafficking in Persons is celebrated, established by Pope Francis in 2015.
Jacqueline Fourie recalled that the biggest obstacle the organization faces is ignorance, because people deny that human trafficking exists in South Africa and that their children cannot be victims of it. Instead, the head of the NGO stressed that children and young people are trapped by traffickers through social media that are used to recruit and exploit them. "Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime, the second biggest after drugs", said Fourie.
In the course of his homily, Fr. Robert Ndung'u, referring to Ezekiel chapter 34 where God says : "Behold, I, myself will search for my sheep”, said the victims of human trafficking are scattered all over because they are looking for pasture and justice. He noted that some are looking employment, running away from poverty, war and violence.
And in fact, a lot of people disappear going for job interviews, confirmed Sello Mashaba of Without Chains, another NGO committed against trafficking, recommending girls to pay attention to job advertisements published by some modeling agencies. "Many girls have disappeared due to these attractive career announcements", Mashaba said. There are various forms of human trafficking in South Africa, the victims of whom are both South African citizens, asylum seekers and African and Asian migrants.
The COVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated the problem. On May 31, May 30, 2021, the government of South Africa launched the Child Protection Week campaign with the theme: "Let us protect children during COVID-19 and beyond". According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2018 report "Global Report on Trafficking in Persons", children account for nearly a third of the victims of human trafficking worldwide, with women and girls accounting for 71% of victims of trafficking. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 10/2/2022)