Imagine this scenario: A man claiming to be an agent comes to you and tells you that you have nice features, and you could be an international model. He then asks for your pictures so he send them to an editor of a magazine. Next thing you know, you have a “modelling gig” and you have to go, now, because it’s a deal of a lifetime.
Next, the man tells you about a modelling photo shoot happening in an exotic Island of Zanzibar or in the fashion capital of London. You are excited, your dreams are coming true and finally you are going to make it (You don’t consider this might be all a lie! Right?) . You pack your suitcase, say your good-byes to your loved ones (not knowing, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see anyone of them again.)
You get in a plane and you arrive in a foreign country and you realise this is not the exotic Zanzibar or fashion-forward London the man promised you. The man turns on you and pricks you with a needle and you black out. You awaken in a dingy place, underground. It’s stuffy, and there are other girls in cages.
Late at night, you are told to stand in line and there are old, saggy men bidding on you and you finally realise that you are being sold for sex. You want to escape but instead they give you drugs to numb you. Your whole life is over and done with, in an instant. Who knew that could happen to you?
TV personality, Boitumelo Boity Thulo, never thought she would too become a victim of human trafficking. Speaking in an interview on Motswako (SABC2), Boity revealed how she was conned into believing that she had landed a modelling gig but it was her worst nightmare when she found out that she had easily fallen for human traffickers.
What is human trafficking?
According to the United Nations Trafficking in Person Protocol: The act of recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force and/or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception etc. or exploitation.
Types of human trafficking
Trafficking women for sexual exploitation
Women and children are enticed by promises of decent employment into leaving their homes and travelling to what they consider will be a better life. They find themselves exploited as prostitutes and held in-slums (or underground), and they are threatened to be killed if they try to escape.
Trafficking for forced labour
Victims of this human trafficking are recruited and held in conditions of slavery in different kinds of jobs such as agriculture, construction, domestic slavery and other labour-intensive employment. Children are also hired in clothing factories. At the end they get paid by a loaf of bread.
Trafficking in organs
There’s a growing number of patients all over the world, who are in dire need of organ transplants. Here in South Africa, it’s popular for young boys to be mutilated and their private parts taken, to be used as muthi (medicine). There was a trend of albino children’s private parts being in high demand, for making muthi.
According to IOL, South Africa is a “hotbed” for the billion rand industry of human trafficking. In Durban, police found young girls from the age of 12, selling their bodies on the streets as prostitutes.
In a country, where children are considered as future leaders one wonders, what future do they have when their lives could be easily turned upside down, in a flip of a second. It’s still an unknown factor as to why the “democratic” government of SA, has not yet passed the human trafficking laws. Why they are delaying? When human trafficking is destroying our beautiful nation.
Images: strugglecontinues.org, bawso.org.uk, davidalton.net, examiner.com, Huffingtonpost.com and economistjourneyoflife.blogspot.com
Abel Dantyi on Twitter: @abel_dantyi