“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

With this well-known quote from Edmund Burke, Ivan Swartz (CEO of Valcare) opened the very dynamic human trafficking training day held last week in Paarl.

This training jointly hosted by Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC and Valcare as part of the Drakenstein Child Protection Programme was a collaborative effort to raise awareness about human trafficking.

In light of the overwhelming statistics of human trafficking within South Africa as a source, transit and destination country and by realising the complex dynamics of human trafficking, we must do all that we can to oppose this evil. It is estimated that only 1% of human trafficking victims are ever rescued and although important progress is being made, huge knowledge- and system gaps still exist in terms of responding to child trafficking cases.

The speakers and organisers of the event: Mariëtte Jacobs (Ezrah), Jolanda van der Lingen (Valcare), Rene Hanekom (A21), Cheyenne Daniels (A21) and Garry Titus (NPA).

Collaboration is key to success

This human trafficking training, attended by 200 delegates on the 31st of October 2019, is an important step by the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group to address these gaps in collaboration with other stakeholders. Attendees from various nonprofit organisations, training institutions, partial care facilities, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) of the South African Police Service, designated child protection organisations, Childline, the Western Cape Education Department, the Cape Winelands Education Department, the Department of Social Development, Paarl Hospital, farming communities, churches and general members of public all gathered together to gain more knowledge on this important topic.

                                 Rene Hanekom, Resource Line Manager at A21.

Defining, understanding and acting

Rene Hanekom from A21 started the training by sharing some important definitions and statistics, explaining the work of A21, providing an overview of understanding human trafficking through the AMP (Acts, Means and Purpose) model and giving important guidelines on how we can make a difference. She also explained the Can You See Me? campaign from A21 to highlight modern slavery in an attempt to make the invisible visible.

Advocate Garry Titus from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) then provided an overview of legislation related to human trafficking and explained how different sections of legislation must be brought together by the criminal justice system in order to conceptualise and build strong cases against perpetrators.

The main messages of the day was that every member of public can make a difference when suspecting human trafficking by phoning the human trafficking hotline at 0800 222 777.  It also became clear that our stakeholders working in the child protection as well as criminal justice system, must have a sound knowledge of both legislation and human trafficking dynamics. We want to thank A21 and the NPA for very insightful training as well as all our colleagues from the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group and wider child protection system for their support to make this training session so successful.

Mariëtte Jacobs (Managing Director of Ezrah) concluded the training by explaining that the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group is committed to coordinate support for child trafficking victims and so we celebrate that this is only the beginning of bigger collaborations to come in 2020.

As Edmund Burke also said:

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

We honour human trafficking survivors such as Grizelda Grootboom (founder of the Survivor Exit Foundation), whose life story reminds us that every human life matters and that every little action counts. Together, every step to oppose human trafficking can make a difference – one life at a time.

For downloadable notes and information on Human Trafficking, please click here.

Article written by Mariëtte Jacobs, Managing Director of Ezrah Community Training and Development and Coordinator of the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group.