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.
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.