DURBAN, The South African government is intensifying efforts to curb the scourge of human trafficking in the country, says Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffreys.

Legislation has been introduced to criminalise labour trafficking along with the trafficking of children and trafficking of people for sexual purposes, he said here Tuesday when addressing a three-day workshop on training programmes to ensure an effective and co-ordinated response to the menace.

The National Prosecuting Authority, government departments, police and members of society have been urged to know their roles in a bid to fight the scourge and the workshop aims to ensure that all stakeholders work harmoniously together in this task.

Jeffreys also shared concerns about the Mthuthuzeli Centres where sexual abuse victims are assisted. The centres are basically attached to hospitals or to clinics where people who are victims of sexual offences, sexual crimes can go where they can be examined, they can be treated, they can be counseled and evidence can also be collected. The difficulty is that they are expensive to run, Jeffreys said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Moipone Noko, said the authorities were dealing with a number of cases of human trafficking in the province.

We have some cases that we have finalised we have some that are on the court rolls for various reasons, for further investigations, some are postponed for sentencing,” he said.

“So, yes, I can say we do have those cases but they are not rife like we have plenty of them no, but yes we do have most of trafficking of people in the province. The objective of the workshop is to make sure that people know their roles different stakeholders which is the National Prosecuting Authority, the community, the SAPS (South African Police Service).

The United Nations’s Office of Crimes and Drugs has intervened in assisting its member States in the fight against human trafficking in the form of capacitating law enforcement and other security agents.

UN Office in South Africa spokesperson Greenwell Lyempe said: We have the mandate to support member States to capacitate law-enforcement officers and many other stakeholders in the fight because what we have noted is that if we leave these things in other countries it may be difficult to fight this.

“So the UN agents whose mandate is to ensure that the protocol related to trafficking in person is enforced on member States. We are here not only for capacity building but for other logistical issues like legislative issues and other support to ensure that member states are able to get rid of the scourge.

The Hawks, the Priority Crimes Directorate of the police, in KwaZulu-Natal Province said they deal with cases related to human trafficking, especially the abduction of children. Its spokesperson in Pietermaritzburg, the provincial capital, Captain Jageesh Singh, elaborated:

There are numerous cases that go unheard because people are not sensitised on the ground about human trafficking and it’s a new concept but with the media awareness people are becoming aware and sensitised especially with school children where there is kidnapping and abduction from schools.

“Social media, the Facebook people are sensitised and the parents are being alerted about the kidnapping and abduction of children, so whatever the case we deal with it and the stations are getting training and visible policing in terms of human trafficking.