Organisation raises awareness of child trafficking

Various organisations from South Africa and Mozambique at the Santac meeting in commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

MALALANE – The South African Network Against Trafficking and Abuse of Children (Santac) recently organised a meeting in town in commemoration of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The aim of the meeting was to warn people on the dangers vulnerable communities may encounter in the name of better opportunities.

“Some parents send their children off with someone they believe will care for them and offer them better opportunities, only to find out that they later misuse them,” said speaker Ms Stella Zacarias, when talking about the various types of child trafficking across the African continent.

Ms Stella Zacarias.

“We need to be aware of the modus operandi of traffickers, especially when it comes to children,” said Zacarias.

The organisation has, over the years, rescued children who have been taken under false pretences in Mozambique and brought to South Africa to potentially have their organs harvested or used under poor conditions.

“Anyone can be a victim of trafficking, especially if you are vulnerable. Our duty is to educate the community to care for their children and be vigilant,” she added.

READ: Learners taught how to avoid human trafficking traps

Once it is discovered that the children have been illegally brought into the country, it is known they are later subject to abuse from local authorities.

“Some of them are incarcerated with adults ready to be deported, which traumatises them once again,” said Ms Paula Mondlana, from Children on the Move.

Ms Paula Mondlana, from Children on the Move.

The organisation focuses on children who leave their respective countries as a result of various factors. Some of them start the journey off with their parents, before eventually being separated from them.

“Children’s rights should be universal, regardless of the country they are in,” she said.

READ: Woman alleged to have bought and sold babies for profit

According to Noluvuyo Thembeni, of the National Prosecuting Authority, there are laws in South Africa that protect children. The trouble with such laws is the implementation.

Santac has called for these laws to be applied more strictly.

Bombi Mavundza

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