The case for extending anti-trafficking initiatives beyond the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

The Salvation Army has just launched a toll free hotline to help people who may be trafficked into South Africa during the 2010 Football World Cup to be held in June. This is a great initiative as it underscores the commitment by civil society, churches and government to combat a potential upsurge in human trafficking during the biggest sports showcase. There have been other initiatives by the churches in South Africa to raise the public’s awareness on human trafficking.

2010 Football World Cup

2010 Football Word Cup in South Africa

However, it is hoped that these initiatives have a life-span that stretches beyond the 2010 World Cup. There is need to ensure that awareness raising continues before, during and after the event. The training of law enforcement agents should extend beyond June and July 2010. Research into human trafficking trends in Southern Africa still needs to be conducted and information needs to be disseminated. More importantly it is critical that evidence based advocacy and lobbying activities for the formulation of responsive policy and legislative instruments is conducted after the 2010 World Cup.

There is risk that remains when activities are centred and built upon one event that is scheduled to run for a month. There is a critical need to expand the scope of initiatives to fight trafficking in persons in Southern Africa. Donors, volunteers and other actors should extend support beyond the football extravaganza. And as SAAHTT has repreatedly highlighted on this blog, trafficking in persons is trans-national in nature. This makes effort to fight this crime complex as they should be located region-wide or continet wide or even be global in nature. The Red Light Campaign gets 5 stars in this regard as it has engaged with civil society actors and individuals in Southern Africa in its campaign to raise awareness on trafficking in persons in the build up to the 2010 World Cup. It is in this regard, that it is also essential for other countries in Southern African countries to establish toll free hotlines as human trafficking is more often than not trans-national. Efforts to fight trafficking in South Africa will fully effective if they are not coordinated and replicated or mapped in Zimbabwe or Swaziland. These are the gaps that traffickers exploit.

Otherwise Kudos to the Salvation Army for the great initiative.

Using an SMS to fight human trafficking in Southern Africa

SAAHTT has always been fascinated by the potential of ICT to fight trafficking in persons in Southern Africa. There has been quite significant buzz around the idea that the next decade will be the ‘mobile decade’. The smartphone has brought the internet to the phone. These represent exciting times for Africa and for agents for social change in particular. Mobile penetration in Africa has been on an upward trajectory and mobile access has improved communications in the rural areas of developing Africa in a way that could not be imagined. Coupled with this is the ever increasing internet penetration in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

This is of intrigue to modern day abolitionist organisations like SAAHTT who seek to harness all effective tools to fight the scourge of human trafficking in Southern Africa. The more networked people are the easier it is to share information. This information could be on raising human trafficking awareness, receiving information on potential trafficking cases, sending updates of SAAHTT anti-trafficking activities among a host of other activities. The concept of Technology for Development (tech4D) has always held so much promise particularly due to the fact that mobile telephony innovations have advanced to the stage where there are now ‘ridiculously’ cheap software solutions that allow for mass SMS based communications two way.

The prospect of deploying mobile technology, that does not require internet connections, to fight human trafficking is a remarkable thought that can be actioned by acquiring the right tools and mobilising the necessary resources, which aren’t much. This story on the Kiwanja blog explores how other non-profits have begun to use SMS based tools to fight human trafficking.

South African Catholics prepare to fight human trafficking during 2010 World Cup

On this blog, i have consistently highlighted the fact that there is more talk and less action when it comes to South Africa’s preparedness to deal with human trafficking. It is therefore quite refreshing to read news about something being done rather than being said. This article highlights the fact that South African catholics are training volunteers within the church on what to look out for and what to do in cases of suspected human trafficking. This represents real work that should aid in stopping all forms of trafficking during the world cup showcase.

Tanzanian arrested over human trafficking in the UK

UK police arrest Tanzanian over human trafficking
By Freddy Macha, Citizen Correspondent, London

British police have arrested two Tanzanians in connection with human trafficking and immigration offences linked to the plight of a Tanzanian domestic worker.

Information obtained by The Citizen yesterday said the Birmingham-based couple (names withheld) are expected to appear in court on Thursday.

A 32-year-old woman from Nandagara Village in Lindi Region (name withheld) was brought to the UK to work as a housemaid in March 2007.

Following allegations of physical and emotional abuse, her case was referred to various Tanzanian authorities in Britain, who sent her to London’s Brent Law Community Centre.

Because of the seriousness of the allegations, the legal body liaised with solicitors specialising in human trafficking matters. They then contacted the police who ordered an investigation.

After being notified of the alleged offences last month, two British police officers travelled to Tanzania for two weeks to investigate the matter further in Dar es Salaam and meet with the victim�s parents in Lindi.

In 2008, another Tanzanian domestic worker in Britain, Ms Elizabeth Kawogo, won a case against an Asian family who were ordered to pay the equivalent of Sh140 million in compensation by a London labour tribunal.

The sum was for unpaid wages and suffering she endured at the hands of her employers, Mr and Mrs Ramzan Dhanji. The money, however, has not been paid, and Ms Kawogo is currently being helped by activists who fight for the justice of migrant domestic workers in the UK and Tawa, a London-based Tanzanian women’s association.

Human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation is a growing problem in East Africa, the findings of a study indicated last year.

The study, conducted by the Catholic agency, Koinonia Advisory Research and Development Service (Kards), to establish the response of faith-based organisations and other actors to the vice, covered Kenya and Tanzania. The findings were published last month.

Fifty-one organisations participated in the study. In Tanzania data was gathered in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The report of the findings of the survey were published in April last year.

The survey found that in Tanzania boys are trafficked for forced labour on farms, in mines, the fishing industry and the informal business sector.

“Tanzanian girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centres and the Island of Zanzibar for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation; some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution,”notes part of the report.

Tanzanian men are reportedly trafficked to South Africa for forced labour and girls are trafficked to Oman, the United Arab Emirates and possibly Europe, the report says.

On the other hand, Kenyan children are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, street vending, agricultural labour, herding, working as barmaids and commercial sexual exploitation. Other trafficked Kenyans end up in other African nations, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

“Employment agencies facilitate and profit from the trafficking of Kenyan nationals to Middle Eastern nations, notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Lebanon, as well as Germany,” said the report.

Chinese, Indian and Pakistan women reportedly transit Nairobi en route to Europe for the sexual trade. Brothels and massage parlours in Nairobi also employ foreign women. Children are trafficked into Kenya from Rwanda, DR Congo, Ehtiopia, Uganda and Somalia.

The report blames the vice on poverty, unemployment, migration, globalisation, lack of birth registration, cultural and social norms and lack of appropriate laws to deal with human trafficking.

“Tanzania has enacted a law on human trafficking that is yet to be gazetted and enforced. Kenya’s efforts to develop an appropriate law have been dragging on since 2007 when NGO’s passed to the (Attorney General) a recommended bill,” the report noted then.

Tanzania is regarded as a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Boys are trafficked within the country for forced labour on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector.

On the other hand, it is common that girls from rural areas are trafficked to urban centres and for domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation with some domestic workers fleeing abusive employers fall prey to forced prostitution.

In some regions, unregistered employment agencies are involved in recruiting minors from rural areas to work as house girls in the capital, where they are subject to exploitation.

SAAHTT’s social media plans for 2010

SAAHHT re-opened its offices today after closing during the festive season. Like everyone else, we at SAAHTT are quite pumped up and re-energised and will make 2010 a productive and memorable year in terms of advancing towards the goal of ending modern day slavery in Southern Africa. Despite the fact that SAAHTT began operations towards the end of 2009, we still managed to generate a lot of interest on the subject of human trafficking particularly within the southern African region. This interest is evidenced by the continued visits to and active consumption of content on this blog. There have currently been 249 blog visits from random google and other search engine searches. More importantly, our facebook page has also directed significant traffic to the blog. Our facebook fanpage has grown from 0 fans to 96 fans in just over 60 days. What is perhaps interesting about this growth is the fact that it has been organic.

In 2010, SAAHTT will endeavor to generate more original content on human trafficking in southern Africa. This does not mean that there will be less aggregation of human trafficking content from the region and across the world as has been more or less the norm on this blog. Instead the organisation will seek to strike a balance between generating more original content with regards to human trafficking in southern Africa and aggregating interesting content from other sites and blogs on the issue. This should see an increase in posts and generally more content on human trafficking with a view to increase awareness.

In addition, SAAHTT also plans to engage with people who visit the blog and the facebook page. This engagement will be spurred on by creating discussion forums and topics. It will also be enhanced by actively asking stakeholders to subscribe to the blog for constant updates and to post comments on content. In addition, SAAHTT will also look at how Twitter and other tools can be harnessed to increase awareness on human trafficking in Southern Africa online.  Some  may have reservations on the wisdom of pursuing  a social media model for raising awareness on human trafficking in southern Africa. However, engaging stakeholders online is just but one strategy SAAHTT will use to raise awareness. In addition, there is evidence of growing internet penetration in southern Africa particularly among the youth who are increasingly vulnerable to trafficking. The need to engage an increasingly online global audience buttresses the need to enhance our online profile.

So 2010 looks to be very exciting and we hope you will find this blog and other new media tools we use to be exciting and rich in new information and knowledge.