Amanda Kloer’s top 10 predictions for human trafficking in 2010

This past year has been a big one for human trafficking — a new administration, revamped legislation, and great grassroots initiatives — to name a few positive trends. But I have a crystal ball that says 2010 is going to be even bigger. Okay, so maybe it’s not a crystal ball, but it’s made of some kind of glass and I washed it off after unearthing it from the attic. Don’t judge; have you ever tried to buy crystal on a blogger’s salary? Ball-quality concerns aside, here are my first 5 predictions for the State of Abolition in 2010. Some predictions are hopeful and others are ones I’d rather be wrong about. But ultimately, you’re the ones who will determine which ones come true. You can check out my next five predictions in Part 2.

1. Slavery in the production of consumer goods will be a hot topic. Conscious consumerism might not be as hot as metallic leggings in 2010, but it will start to creep in the the back, sides, and possibly even the front of shoppers’ minds. Fair Trade spending has been on the rise in the UK in 2009, despite the recession. I predict that Fair Trade and other more ethical and conscious buying will go up in 2010 as well, especially on easier-to-find products like coffee and chocolate.

2. We’ll see a moderate spike in sex trafficking at the Olympics and World Cup. 2010 brings with it two major international sporting events — the Winter Olympics in February in Canada and the World Cup in September in South Africa. There’s been a lot of controversy about whether or not a spike in sex trafficking and/or prostitution will result from these events. Will there be a gagillion new victims trafficked into these cities? No. But traffickers will take advantage of the large numbers of men traveling to these events.

3. Better identification of labor trafficking. The Bush Administration was good at very, very few things, but bringing greater visibility to the issue of trafficking into commercial sex was one of them. Addressing labor trafficking, not so much. 2010 will be the year that labor trafficking begins to be recognized as the significant global issue it is. After all, more people come into contact with slavery in factories through the purchase of consumer goods than slavery in prostitution.

4. The bloom of public-private partnerships. The progressive community is finally starting to repeat the public-private partnership mantra: Not all corporations are evil. And in fact, some are pretty great. More and more, anti-trafficking organizations are teaming up with corporations and other for-profit entities to fight slavery together. Profit-based business models are also increasingly used to generate income and skills for trafficking rehabilitation programs. I predict that 2010 will be the year these partnerships really come into their own.

5. A move away from general “awareness”. Human trafficking awareness campaigns have been going on for about a decade now, and I think it’s safe to say, we’re all aware. It’s been a couple years since I met someone who had never even heard of human trafficking. But while people might know there’s a thing called “human trafficking” out there, they still don’t know much about it. Perhaps this is more of a wish than a prediction, but let’s move away from general “awareness.” Get specific. Get active. Give us the who, what, when, where, and why. Break human trafficking apart. We’re in the specifics portion of public education now.

U.S couple charged with trafficking Swaziland woman

In interactions with various people on the subject of human trafficking, one question that has always been posed is-‘is there really human traffikcing in Zimbabwe or in SADC?’ SAAHTT has endeavored to provide evidence of this phenomenon in SADC by linking stories of human trafficking survivors and cases of human trafficking syndicates being busted. We have particularly shared most of these links on our SAAHTT Facebook Page. There is still a lot of skepticism on the occurence of human trafficking across the world and SADC is no different. this is in part due to a dearth of research and statistics on human trafficking. In SADC there are only very few researches that have been conducted on human trafficking most notably by the Salvation Army, Molo Songololo and the International Organisation for Migration.

Denialism, however, does not mean that human trafficking is not occuring or that it will magically go away. The problem will persist as it is by nature very undercover and off the radar. If communities, civil society and governments are not willing to band together to peel under the surface and stop the scourge then it will regrettably most likely continue to cut right at the heart of our societies. It is often very heartening to see when traffickers are caught and brought to book; when a piece of intelligent investigative reporting peels under the surface to expose human trafficking and when trafficking victims are freed and reintegrated into society.

A case in point is the charging of Ellenwood clergy on account of human trafficking. Juna Babb and her minister husband Michael Babb were arrested and charged on Wednesday. It is alleged that the couple enticed a woman from Swaziland to come to the United States of America on the back of a promise to her that she would provide lucrative catering services at a family member’s wedding. Upon arrival the couple confiscated the woman’s passport and return ticket and forced her to work as a house-keeper and nanny threatening her with arrest and imprisonment. The lady was also forced to clean houses of Babb’s friends and associates and assist in his construction business. Read more of this story.

Are fears of a surge in Human Trafficking During the 2010 World Cup Translating into Practical Actions to Combat It?

human trafficking

the sad face of human trafficking

In the last couple of posts it seems there is so much growing concern on the potential spike in human trafficking cases in Southern Africa during the 2010 Word Cup Finals to be held in South Africa. It is quite commendable that the relevant authorities, such as the South African Home Affairs Ministry, realise that human trafficking is there in Southern Africa and that there is the potential for a regrettable increase in trafficking cases due to high migratory flows in and out of Southern Africa and particularly South Africa during the World Cup.

However, what is of concern to abolitionists and anti-trafficking activists is whether or not these fears of this concern will translate into meaningful action to combat incidences of trafficking. Are SADC countries taking the necessary steps to raise awareness in vulnerable communities? Is there a budget that has been set aside for anti-traffikcing training of law enforcement agencies, immigration and customs officials? Has there been any planning in terms of setting goals relating to targeted government officials to be trained etc? Are governments doing enough to support civil society actions directed combating human trafficking, for example, the Red Light Campaign?

These are the issues that traffickers will look at. These are the issues that ultimately determine whether or not South Africa and other SADC countries will be able to host a World Cup that is free from modern day slavery.

Trafficking Fears Ahead of World Cup 2010 in South Africa

Posted by thabo on Dec 5th, 2009

MAPUTSOE — Excitement is mounting as the countdown to next year’s Fifa World Cup continues — and so is fear of an upsurge in cases of human trafficking in southern Africa.
South Africa hosts the global showcase from June 10 to July 11 next year, with an estimated 500 000 international fans set to descend on the region for the tournament.
While there is an air of anticipation by fans and businesses alike, governments in the region also fear the influx of foreigners could trigger a rise in human rights abuses, particularly against women and young girls.
The extent of the apprehension was clearly evident on Friday when Lesotho and South Africa held a joint human trafficking sensitisation campaign in Maputsoe.
The campaign — which incidentally came within the framework of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence — saw officials calling for an “intensive” operation to combat the threat posed by human trafficking.
South Africa’s head of department of police, roads and transport, Mzilozi Molala, said human trafficking in the two countries is a serious problem.
“Both Lesotho and South Africa are experiencing this problem where women and young girls are being sold between and outside the two countries like animals,” Molala said.
He said the Ficksburg border post was being used as a smuggling point by syndicates, adding the practice is expected to intensify during the upcoming football tournament.
“We are hosting the Fifa World Cup next year and syndicates will intensify their activities,” he said.
Molala said a joint force was needed between South Africans and Basotho in order to strengthen the fight against human trafficking.
“This is human abuse. Let us report such people who sell our women and young girls. This behaviour perpetuates the spread of HIV and Aids,” Molala said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Gender, Sports and Recreation, ‘Mathabiso Lepono, said people who are found to be involved in human trafficking should be severely punished.
Lepono added that government would soon pass a law to address issues of human trafficking.
“Government is still drafting a bill on the prevention of human trafficking. In the meantime, our security agencies are going to join forces to bring human traffickers to justice,” Lepono said.
She urged young girls and women not to be cheated into slavery.
“I appeal to you girls and women to stand your ground if anyone wants to prey on you. It is not true that there is a lot of money in South Africa.
“You should use the opportunities you have to improve your lives, not to be dragged into dirty work,” she said.
Twenty-three-year-old Tefetso Lehlaka from St Luke, Maputsoe, said he was not aware human trafficking was such a problem until his sister became a victim last year.
Tefetso’s sister, Celina, 25, was one of several village girls taken by an unidentified man with promises of good jobs in Durban, in 2003.
Sheer desperation, says Tefetso, had made his sister readily agree to what promised to be a better life in South Africa.
But Celina came back home sick and empty-handed in December last year. She died in February.
Lehlaka said he only realised this year his late sister was a victim of human trafficking.
“We had always been close with my sister. She came home excited the other day and told me she had been offered a well paying job.
“She told me a certain man had offered her and some of her friends jobs in Durban,” Lehlaka said.
He said they had both been excited, thinking they would be able to fend for themselves, since their mother had just died.
“I remember she said they had been promised monthly salaries of R2 000 each. We thought it was a lot of money.
“We had already made plans on how we were going to use the money. We would even move out of the old house we were renting and look for better accommodation elsewhere.”
But he said his sister ordered him not to tell anyone about the job — not even their mother’s sister, who was now occasionally checking on them.
“She gave strict orders not to tell anyone, not even my friends. She said it was our secret. I obeyed until she left.
“I accompanied her to the border post that night.
She told me to go back home before I could see the man, whom she said would help them cross over to Ficksburg because most of them did not have passports.”
Lehlaka said he waited excitedly for the rest of the month hoping she would either come home or send him some money. Neither came.
“I convinced myself it would not be possible for her to come home after just one month. But months passed by and I never heard from her.
“I did not even know where to look for her. I just waited but she did not come. No one ever said they had met her or knew where she was. I was worried sick about her. I thought she had died.”
Last year, when he had already given up on his sister, Letlaka said he received a message from fellow villagers that his sister was at the border post.
“I went there to look for her. It took me about an hour to find her, only to realise later that she was the person I had been passing by all this time. She was frail and sick. She was lifeless.”
Lehlaka took his sister home and later to the hospital. Celina got better enough to tell her brother what had happened.
“She told me they were being used as sex slaves in Durban, where they were not able to do anything or go anywhere.
“She said they were locked in and drugged and forbidden from contacting anyone.
“She said when she fell sick no one took her to the doctor.
“Celina said she was later dumped at the Ficksburg bus stop, on the other side of the border post, because her condition had continued to deteriorate.”
Celina died two months later.
Maretsélisitsoe Mohlanka, an elderly villager from Ha-‘Mathata in Maputsoe, said rampant smuggling of young girls by con-artists had become a cause for concern in the area.
Mohlanka said at least seven young girls in her village had recently been lured to South Africa with promises of good jobs.
“They were all young girls between the ages of 15 and 20. Some were still going to school but dropped out when an unknown woman came looking for girls who needed employment,” Mohlanka said.
She said they were not able to report such matters to the police because ‘victims’ would have gone willingly.
“The young girls are not kidnapped. They give their consent.”
Meanwhile, the Director of Gender, ‘Matau Futho Letsatsi — who also spoke at Friday’s sensitisation campaign — said human trafficking was a problem all over the country.
She said it was shocking to find that in some instances, family members agree to their children’s trafficking.
“It is even worse in a situation where family members consent to their children’s smuggling. That is a violation of human rights.”
She said the Lesotho and South African governments were determined to eradicate human trafficking.
“We are all to blame. So we all have to stand together to fight this scourge.”

Zim Children Rescued From Traffickers

CAPE TOWN — Zimbabweans were among nearly 60 children who were rescued from traffickers in southern Africa over the last four years, a leading international migration organisation said here last weekend.
Zoe Rohde of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said six Zimbabweans children along with 48 others from African countries had fallen victim to child traffickers working on the continent.
“Nigerian organised crime syndicates operate heavily in Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein and traffic local black South African females into commercial sexual exploitation,” she said, adding “Advertisements in newspapers have been used as a recruitment technique to deceive young women into the sex industry.” Speaking at a Victim Empowerment conference organised by the South African Department of Social Development in Wellington, Rohde said girls were usually employed as commercial sex workers walking the streets, bars, brothels, massage parlors, saunas, and were forced to work as call-girls and for escort agencies.
Boys were meanwhile forced to work in agriculture, fishery, construction, mines, sweatshops and catering. She said in certain situations, the children were held for domestic servitude, street begging or peddling, forced military service, removal of body parts for muti purposes while others were trafficked for adoption and forced marriage.
The freed children were from Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cameroon, Somalia, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria and RSA.  The majority of the rescued children were from the DRC, 24, and 10 from Mozambique.
She said the children were lured with promises of domestic work and educational opportunities while adults were promised jobs in restaurants, massage parlors, marriage, domestic work, beauty and hair salons, au pairs, construction and agriculture. “Men and young boys from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are trafficked into S.A for agricultural labour” she said.
South Africa was a source, transit and destination country. As a result, women and girls were trafficked internally and occasionally onward to Asian countries for sexual exploitation.
“Chinese, Thai and Eastern European women are trafficked into South Africa for debt-bonded sexual exploitation. Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi as well as refugee producing countries for example Angola, Rwanda, DRC are source countries for women and children trafficked into South Africa.”
The Geneva based organised, which works globally to manage migration challenges has a mandate from its 127 member countries and 91 observers working in more than 440 field locations globally. IOM works to support Member States in their migration management efforts, while providing technical capacity to assist in meeting the challenges of managing migration to benefit Member States, migrants and societies.
In southern Africa, IOM has teamed up with the Southern African Counter Trafficking Programme (SACTAP) to break trafficking syndicates that abduct women and children from the region for sale in Europe and Asia or deploy them in South Africa.
Last year alone, IOM trained over 3000 government officials, particularly immigration and airline officials, in the region on human trafficking and 1328 in South Africa. At least 500 civil society representatives in the SADC region including shelter managers, counselors, medical personnel, advocacy groups, refugee assistance organisations and hotline operators received this training.

by Juma Donke

Tanzania Police Detain 28 Ethiopians

Dar es Salaam (ThisDay) — Police in the east African nation of Tanzania has arrested 28 immigrants from Ethiopia yesterday. The Ethiopians were heading to  an unknown destination, probably South Africa.

The immigrants were traveling aboard a bus with registration number T245 BDD and were being escorted by two officials from the immigration department, one from the headquarters and the other from an immigration office in Temeke.

According to sources, human trafficking is now a lucrative business in border towns.

Officials from the immigration department who were escorting the Ethiopian immigrants told the police that the immigrants had just finished a one-year-term in jail at Babati Prison after being arrested living in the country illegally.

“This is a business for some officials within the immigration department who are earning money by trafficking Ethiopians and Somali people to South Africa,” sources said. After the bus had been held at Urafiki Police Post for some hours, directives from the immigration office were given to allow the bus to continue with the trip and there were no more explanations.

One of the officials escorting the immigrants said the immigrants were to take another vehicle to the border with Malawi where they will be escorted again by other officials.

Illegal immigrants from Ethiopia and Somalia are coming into Tanzania in droves taking advantage of the country’s porous borders.

Hardly does a month pass without the police and Immigration officers nabbing scores of illegal immigrants not only at border posts but deep in the inner towns of Tanzania.