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Mpumalanga must declare war on human trafficking

Human trafficking has reached an unacceptable level in Mpumalanga and action must be taken against this evil.

It is time for government to raise awareness about this type of crime, the many forms it takes on, and how civil society can play its role in combating it.

A police task team yesterday rescued 19 Bangladeshi victims from a house in Kamagugu in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality. One man was also arrested.

The victim's cell phones were in a plastic bag, indicating that they were not able to communicate with anyone.

Last year, the police rescued 39 human trafficking victims from a farm in Belfast, Emakhazeni. This group included nine children below the age of five.

Just a mere month later, six kidnapped children from Mozambique were rescued from a farm near Bethal.

But human trafficking is often overlooked in Mpumalanga. Even the Human Rights Commission (HRC) says that when it is reported, little is done to follow up.

The province is apparently a hot spot due to its proximity to neighbouring countries.

Approximately 64% of the victims of human trafficking in the province are children. They are victims of forced labour, the sex trade or are exploited as domestic workers.

The FF Plus today tabled a motion in the Provincial Legislature requesting government to urgently put strategic networks in place and establish cooperation and partnerships to effectively combat human trafficking.

Awareness must be raised among residents and more conversations must be had on public platforms.

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