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Salvation Army pleads with public to be more vigilant against human trafficking

TUESDAY, 15 JUNE 2021 I For immediate release

The Salvation Army has expressed its deep concern at an apparent spike in instances of human trafficking being brought to its attention over the past three months.
Captain Juanita Wright, The Salvation Army’s anti-human trafficking coordinator, says the Church is experiencing ongoing calls for help regarding human trafficking.

She says that The Salvation Army’s helpline is receiving up to a dozen calls every week, 80 percent of which are related to human trafficking.

“We believe that many of the calls for help involve people who have been tricked into human trafficking situations as a result of the difficult economic circumstances which South Africa is experiencing.

“We appeal to people to be much more vigilant about human trafficking. It is real and it is happening in our society to people of all ages. If an offer of employment sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“There are still far too many people in our communities who don’t really believe that human trafficking is happening, or that it can happen to them or their families,” Captain Wright says.

Information that is received from calls to The Salvation Army’s helpline is directed to one its network partners for follow-up and investigation.

Calls can also be directed to the national hotline number 0800 737 28.

Captain Wright added: “People most vulnerable to human trafficking are children, teenagers, young women, refugees, job seekers and people living on the street. These people are preyed upon in various ways and are literally tricked into going somewhere with their traffickers, and subsequently held against their will.”

People are trafficked for:

  • Labour exploitation/slave labour. This includes offers of jobs such as childminding (au pair), hairdressing, modelling and hotel work etc;
  • Prostitution (usually paid very little), sexual slavery (not paid);
  • Forced marriage (In South Africa, women are often forced to marry mine workers or young girls are forced to marry older men);
  • Harvesting of body organs for sale once the trafficked victim has been killed.

Captain Wright offered the following guidelines for members of the public to be aware of in helping to combat human trafficking in their communities:

  • Tell your friends and neighbours how to protect themselves from being trafficked.
  • Learn to recognise trafficked persons.
  • They are often unable to speak the local language.
  • They appear to be trapped in their job or the place they stay.
  • They may have bruises and other signs of physical abuse.
  • They do not have identification documents (passport, ID, refugee or asylum papers).
  • Report places where you suspect trafficked people are kept (for example,
  • brothels, farms, factories, shebeens) to the local authorities and the media.
  • Report people you suspect may be traffickers to the local authorities (police, NGOs) and the media.

(Source: World Hope South Africa, Schools curriculum)

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God, and its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs without discrimination.

The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four
countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.


Media Contact: Ruth Coggin
Quo Vadis Communications
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Client Contact: Captain Velani Buthelezi
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Cell: 082-994-4351
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