Despite progressive economic development, South Africa, like many countries within Africa, has a large incidence of human trafficking. Not For Sale began work in South Africa during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and has since developed pivotal relationships with law enforcement in the country, providing investigation technique training to them, translation services and vital communication with local NGOs regarding shelter. The following story highlights both an example of human trafficking in South Africa, as well as Not For Sale’s role in assisting the rehabilitation of survivors.
Summer was from a neighboring African country before being trafficked from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Her boyfriend in Johannesburg had promised her a better life and job in Cape Town. When Summer arrived in Cape Town, she was immediately taken to a house and gang raped, forced to take drugs, and forced to sell herself for sex, all done by a West African crime syndicate. Summer’s movements were monitored closely as she was also used to harbor and deliver drugs.
Summer knew outreach workers from a local NGO were sent out on a particular night and waited to meet them. Eventually, she came in contact with the person working that day and asked for help.
Summer was brought to a local hospital where she spent time recovering and getting the appropriate attention needed. Often, survivors who are forced to take drugs undergo a period where not only drug rehabilitation is needed, but psychiatric help as well. The combination of the drugs and trauma can sometimes cause psychosis and/or schizophrenia.
Fortunately, for NGOs involved within the Counter Trafficking Coalition, communication is healthy. NGOs usually come together to help in situations such as these. Not For Sale South Africa provided Summer with new clothes, as she had left with nothing but the clothes on her back. Local NGOs have stepped up at various times to assist Summer in the best way possible. Not For Sale visited her whilst she received support at a safe house and have since been in contact with the NGOs involved in helping Summer recover to full health.
One of the largest challenges facing the fight against human trafficking is the willingness and capacity for NGOs to work together to assist victims of trafficking and help them recover to the point that they can become survivors instead. Not For Sale South Africa would like to thank all of the NGO’s, law enforcement, and safe houses that have come together to make Summer’s freedom a reality. Though it has been a rocky road, Summer is now safe and on her way to recovery.