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7 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking

People protest outside the South African Parliament on September 21, 2011 in Cape Town against human trafficking and calling for the adoption of the South African Prevention and Combating in Trafficking in Persons (TIP) bill. The TIP Bill has been delayed in parliament for more than a year. Some of the protestors were restrained with chains and made up to look as though they had been abused. AFP PHOTO/RODGER BOSCH

It is estimated that over 40 million people are victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking.

While it may seem shocking that anyone in today’s world could still be victims of child labour, sex trades, and human trafficking, it remains a reality in almost every country in the world.

Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking, so here are seven ideas to consider acting on.

1. Recognise the signs

Victims of human trafficking are often unable to seek help on their own, which is why it is vital for others to be able to recognise the signs of human trafficking.

Some of the red flags that show a person may be a trafficking victim include: signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment, victims may be unable to speak for themselves, and some may offer a scripted story to explain signs of abuse.

2. Report a Tip

If you have any reason to suspect that someone is a victim or perpetrator of human trafficking, call 0800 222 777.

This is the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by A21 South Africa and it takes calls 24/7. Alternatively, you can email [email protected]

3. Think before you shop

Be a conscientious and informed consumer.

It is important to consider how you shop and to know which goods may be produced by child or forced labour.

The Bureau of International Labour Affairs (ILAB) compiles a list of goods and their country’s source which it has reason to believe are produced by child labour or forced labour.

4. Volunteer and support local organisations

Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community and ask how you can support them.

Many anti-trafficking organisations often lack funds and resources and rely heavily on volunteer support.

Here are some of the biggest anti-trafficking organisations:

A21

The Salvation Army

S-cape

* STOP- Stop trafficking of people

5. Stay well-informed

One way to stay up to date with current human trafficking news is to set up a web alert.

This way you are instantly informed of what is happening in your local community and worldwide.

Become familiar with public awareness materials available from the Department of Justice and Correctional Services or the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities.

6. Use Your Skills

Utilise the skills you already possess.

If you are a business owner, consider providing jobs, internships or skills training to trafficking survivors.

If you are a student, consider joining a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community.

Attorneys can offer human trafficking victims legal services, including support for those seeking benefits or special visas.

7. Raise Your Voice

Challenge leadership and write to your local government and officials to let them know that you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.

Let them know what your community needs.

*Article by Kelly Jane Turner

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