2010: Fears for exploitation

2010-05-23 09:49

Midrand - Human trafficking may be the "dark side" of World Cup celebrations, said Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya on Saturday.

"We are very concerned as government about the challenge of human trafficking, particularly of women and children for various forms of exploitation," Mayende-Sibiya told a rally against human trafficking in Midrand.

"We are gathered here less than 20 days before the Fifa Soccer World Cup to engage on an issue that threatens to be the dark side of what is otherwise a very memorable period."

The rally, which followed a march through Midrand, was organised by the Catholic Justice and Peace Committee and was part of the SA Catholic Bishops conference. It was attended by a few hundred people.

A hub for trafficking

Midrand chairperson Jeanette Lesisa said her organisation was working with other NGO's to bring attention to human trafficking being committed in central Gauteng.

Lesisa said their campaign was currently focused on passage of human trafficking legislation which was promulgated in Parliament but not passed.

"The legislation will focus on three major things. Security, protection and implementation," she said.

"Offenders of human trafficking must be taken to justice."

Fellow committee member Emma McBride said that South Africa had become a hub for human trafficking from other countries.

End exploitation

"Most of the countries in Africa are sending people for trafficking reasons to here. So it's a real issue," said McBride.

Also present at the rally was Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga who shared similar sentiments about the crime.

"We firmly believe that trafficking in human persons is a very serious problem undermining our collective effort to end exploitation, oppression, abuse and inequality," said Motshekga.

"The selling and buying of women and children, as prostitutes, child slaves and drug runners, are matters of both national and international concern, because they utterly destroy lives of many innocent people the world over."

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe was also scheduled to attend but was instead represented by his director-general Nonkululeko Msomi who accepted a memorandum from the committee.

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