Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

According to Missing Children South Africa, a child goes missing every five hours in SA.

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Photo: File

Child trafficking might seem like something that happens only in the movies, but it’s real and anyone can be a victim.

According to Missing Children South Africa, a child goes missing every five hours in SA.

“The reality is shocking and undeniable,” the organisation said.

“There is a tremendous demand for children to be traded into forced (cheap) labour or for sexual exploitation.”

Parents are urged to report immediately when a child goes missing and not wait for 24 hours.

Small Voice Human Trafficking director Jacqueline Fourie said it was vital for children to know their full name, age, emergency numbers and their address.

    “Children must know how to contact you, the police or another close relative in an emergency,” she said.

She advised parents to teach their children they should always ask for permission before accepting gifts from strangers.

Most children are said to have fallen victims to trafficking because they fell for tricks by traffickers who tempt them with promises of sweets, clothes, shoes, money, etc.

Fourie supplied the following tips for children:

– Children must know that if he/she/they become separated from you in a mall, he/she/they must go to a store employee or cashier for help immediately; or look for another mommy with kids.

– Children should be taught to kick, scream and resist by yelling loudly, “This person is not my father/mother/guardian”.

She urged parents to monitor their child’s Internet use, as predators often groom kids online for exploitation.

Faurie also warned against having personalised items: “Do not write your children’s names where anyone can see it (e.g. bag, clothes). This is because when strangers know your child’s name they come across as friendly and familiar – and subsequently your child is much more likely to trust them.”

“Use a ‘code’ word system. With your children, make up a family code word that is neither too common nor so bizarre that it would be hard to use naturally. Children can then use the code word in different situations. For example, if you’ve sent someone to pick up your child – they should be aware of what the code word is so they’ll know not to leave with anyone else.”

She said parents should keep their children in sight at all times and never leave them unattended, especially in parks and malls.

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Infographic: Felicia Nkhwashu

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