Cape Town, South Africa - 14 December 2017 - In South Africa, training is highlighted as one of the key interventions in the draft national policy framework on the Prevention and Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act. In order to respond to the capacity needs of criminal justice practitioners involved in the response to Trafficking in Persons (TIP), the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT) facilitated a two-day workshop on TIP from 12 to 13 December 2017 to help strengthen and develop an integrated response to TIP.
The main objectives of the workshop were:
Opening the workshop, Ms. Ashika Singh, Director, Legal Administration, Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said, "There are various estimates of how big the problem of human trafficking is. However, the reality is that there is no reliable data that we can use to assess how big this problem is in South Africa. This is due to the clandestine nature of human trafficking and a real lack of awareness about this crime." She went on to say, "We can deal a successful blow to such criminal activities by ensuring that the various departments within our government in charge of tackling TIP work together, as well as continue to engage with NGOs and the international community."
While Ms. Maria Marshall from the National Prosecuting Authority in Cape Town said, "The National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape is committed to the fight against TIP, and we have several structures in place which show our commitment." She continued by saying, "We will endeavor to increase our efforts in combating TIP through continued capacity building and continued engagement with key stakeholders and UNODC."
One of the highlights of the workshop was a presentation given by Ms. Grizelda Grootboom, a TIP survivor and advocate. During her poignant speech she said: "I have survived a life of human trafficking. I had a happy home until it was taken away from me, until my world fell apart. After eighteen years of being trapped in the world of drugs and prostitution, I found an exit." She went on to remind the audience that "implementation strategies on TIP should not only be visible on paper but should actually be felt on the ground so that real change is achieved and the traffickers are arrested."
Over the two days, participants worked on the following topics:
The workshop was highly interactive in nature and incorporated many best teaching practices such as working through a real TIP case study in small group settings. Speaking about the content of the workshop and how this can be used in her own work, Ms. Kirstin Hornby, National Director, Love Justice, said that "the workshop helped us understand exactly what is required by the respective government departments. This in turn now enables us to conduct our operations in a more streamlined manner." She also said, "We can utilise some of the points made today to hold government departments accountable and ensure that they deliver on what they need to deliver on."
Another highlight of the workshop was the closing speech, sent via video message, by Ms. Margaret Akullo, GLO.ACT Project Coordinator. In her speech, Ms. Akullo reminded everyone that training had been identified as a need to strengthen the knowledge and skills of criminal justice practitioners. She pointed out that since GLO.ACT's launch in the country, 12 workshops had been held in South Africa with 6 out of the 12 workshops focusing on training. Ms. Akullo also took the opportunity to thank the Government of South Africa, the European Union and GLO.ACT implementing partners IOM and UNICEF for their continued support in ensuring the success of the project. She concluded by referring to a simple, yet profound message that GLO.ACT promotes: 'Hear their voices. Act to Protect'. She said, "We must listen to the voices of victims so that we can better prevent human trafficking, improve and strengthen our response to human trafficking and most importantly, meet our obligations to victims." Ms. Akullo ended her message by thanking Ms. Grizelda Grootboom for her bravery and courageousness, in coming out and sharing her story with all the workshop participants.
Participants included the National Prosecuting Authority (Western Cape Province), the South African Police Services, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Health, the Department of Labour, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the South African Inter-Sectorial Committee for Trafficking in Persons (NICTIP), the Western Cape Provincial Task Team, civil society representatives and GLO.ACT project implementing partners.
The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine. GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.
For more information, please contact:
Banele Kunene, National Project Officer