September 28, 2016
Actions taken to address the issue of human trafficking:
1. The Counter Trafficking in Persons Office (CTIP) of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference facilitated a workshop that was held from 12 – 15 April. The participants included people from The Department of Social Development, the Parliamentary Liaison Office, the National Prosecuting Authority of the Department of Justice, local churches and NGOs. During the workshop, the participants met with the local taxi (minibuses actually) drivers and gave them information about trafficking in persons, gave out T-shirts and caps and gave Anti Trafficking stickers to them to put on their taxis. Fr Barney McAleer then blessed the drivers and their taxis.
2. The Department of Justice is drafting The National Policy Framework for the Prevention, Protection and Prosecution of victims of TIP. All the stakeholders from the different governmental departments and NGOs have been involved in this 3-year inter-departmental plan. It should be tabled in parliament on Friday 30 September, and it will then be launched on the 13th October.
3. Mercy House was asked to organise a TIP awareness campaign for Pretoria. This will be held on Thursday 13 October. The departments involved the planning for this campaign are: the Department of Social Development, the Department of Justice, the South African Police Department, the Municipality of Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Home Affairs, UNODC and the International Organisation for Migration. There will be a march through the western suburbs of Pretoria (a red light district) and all the marchers will gather in a park where there will be speeches, a drama staged by students of the University of Technology and another staged by a local men’s forum. We are targeting 700 people.
4. In July, members of the police force, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Department of Home Affairs, students from the University of Pretoria and staff members of Mercy House raised awareness of TIP at the offices of Home Affairs, where hundreds of immigrants and asylum seekers gather each day to try and obtain their permits top stay in South Africa. We also spoke to commuters and vendors at the railway station and taxi rank.
5. The same stakeholders have given presentations about TIP to students at 6 schools and to the senior primary teachers at Catholic schools in Pretoria.
6. Since April, Mercy House has sheltered 24 victims of TIP – 7 South Africans, 1 Zimbabwean, 16 Thais.
Messages to: Colleen Wilkinson rsm