[notice]A new fortnightly column by a team of real people dedicating their lives to the fight against human trafficking, exploitation and social injustice. This week’s writer is Nicolette Kapp of the A21 Campaign[/notice]
As the sun rises over the suburbs of South Africa, civil society will wake up with a new hope. Not only will we shine a light on slavery, but we are fighting to abolish it with a caring voice that responds: “National Human Trafficking Resource Line, how can I help you?”
This is not only the start of a phone call, but it will be the start of saving lives.
The South African National Human Trafficking Resource Line (SANHTRL) which was launched last week is a national line that takes calls 24/7 proudly operated by A21. The call specialists who take these calls are trained professionals who follow international best practice to ensure the fastest and most appropriate response to each call.
National collaborative initiative
It is a national collaborative initiative to report, respond to and ultimately eradicate human trafficking in our country. The resource line is in essence a helpline, and a support tool. Enhancing processes, making sure the right people are contacted for all aspects of cases of human trafficking.
The resource line offers professional services including referrals, access to services, training, victim assistance and reporting tip-offs.
Referrals will connect callers to human trafficking service providers around the country.
The line will provide access to emergency, transitional, and long-term social services.
Training and technical assistance will be delivered through partnerships, with the aim to train and strengthen local and national structures, law enforcement, medical professionals, airport staff, government agencies, and other practitioners.
Victim assistance that will be offered through the resource line includes screening of potential victims of trafficking, repatriation and case management.
Call specialists are available 24/7 to take tip-offs and reports of potential trafficking cases. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous.
Immediate response to crisis calls
After receiving a tip-off, the National Human Trafficking Resource Line team jointly conducts a thorough internal review process to determine appropriate next steps. Crisis calls and urgent tips receive immediate follow-up.
Before reporting, the resource line will consider the needs and stated preferences of the caller as a primary consideration.
Additional considerations include the specificity of the information provided, the presence of indicators of severe forms of trafficking in persons, the involvement of minors, and the anti-trafficking services and law enforcement available in the caller’s area.
The preferences, when known, of the potential victims involved will also be taken as a primary consideration.
Follow-up may involve any of the following actions: an additional call to the caller to confirm the accuracy of information (with the caller’s consent); provision of materials and/or referrals to organisations in the caller’s area serving trafficking victims; a report to a local anti-trafficking organisation, service provider, or law enforcement.
The Resource Line is equipped to handle calls in all languages. The SANHTRL is also able to connect to a tele-interpreting service with access to 186 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a tele-interpreting service.
Calls specialists are trained by the American organisation Polaris Project which state that Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after that North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the US, Polaris systematically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom.
Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.
The A21 Campaign operates the resource line as we already have a relationship with Polaris Project, and experience in setting up and hosting hotlines in Greece and Bulgaria. Coupling this vision and experience, A21 aims to connect all victims to services needed and unite civil society and government alike — all through the resource Line.
Partnership is key to success — the major reason why A21 felt so strongly to host this project.
If you don’t have immediate access to a phone you can submit an online tip-off which is a safe and secure way to give detailed information about a potential case of human trafficking. Through this method you can choose to stay anonymous of not.
The resource line will be an effective tool to compile up-to-date information and provide statistics to national authorities and civil society. With this type of information authorities will be able to identify hot spots and areas where human trafficking has a bigger potential. This will facilitate updating of current methods or finding new methods to fight human trafficking. With this tool we aim to move from being reactive to human trafficking to becoming proactive in combatting this atrocity.
What does this mean for you?
So what does this mean for me? What does this mean for you? It means that from now on, if you see something that looks like human trafficking, you have someone who will listen. Someone who will help. It means if you want to educate your school, you have someone to call to connect you to that training. It means if you are a victim, you don’t need to look any further — help is on the way.
0800 222 777 — learn it, save it, call it. You now have a tool at your service, to guide you and support you. So if you see something, say something!
If you want to get involved or learn more about human trafficking head over to www.0800222777.org.za or give us a call at 0800 222 777.