‘Sound of Freedom’ and the reality of child trafficking in SA

Sound of Freedom, the US film focusing on child trafficking that releases in SA today provides an opportunity to raise awareness on acts of modern day slavery affecting men, women and children across SA, says the KZN Trafficking in Persons Coalition in a press release.

The press release continues: “Trafficking in persons is a crime that does not discriminate. Child Trafficking and exploitation are real and pose an ongoing threat to the safety and wellbeing of families. However, we urge moviegoers to bear in mind that this film is an action thriller and sensationalised depiction of child trafficking,” says the coalition.

“The film portrays the kidnapping of victims, but often traffickers instead identify and exploit the vulnerabilities of a person when recruiting victims. According to the South African National Human Trafficking Hotline, the most common methods used to recruit and lure victims is through promises of a better life, false job opportunities, false relationships, being sold by family, to repay debt, or by abduction.

“Traffickers often target vulnerable persons through a grooming process that may happen over an extended period of time, both in person or online. They may also be recruited by family and people known to them.

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“While the use of force, coercion and threats of violence is a tactic used by recruiters and traffickers, victims are not always forcibly detained or kept in captivity. They may remain in the situation through manipulation, psychological tactics, substance dependence, and the false narrative that no one will believe them, that they cannot return home because of the stigma, or that there are no alternatives.

“Individuals most at risk in South Africa are from low income communities, the unemployed, and those that lack an education. Children from child-headed homes, orphans, runaways, and street children are especially vulnerable.

“The KZN Trafficking in Persons Coalition encourages individuals who have watched the film and who are moved to take action against this heinous crime to support the local organizations who work to create awareness and provide survivor services in all provinces.

“For more information on human trafficking or if you suspect someone is in an exploitative situation, or if you have observed any suspicious activity that could potentially be trafficking related, here are five ways to report:

1) Call the toll-free National Human Trafficking Hotline at 0800 222 777
2) Email the Hotline at info@0800222777.org.za
3) Complete the online report form at 0800222777.org.za
4) Call the SAPS Emergency Crime Stop number: 10 111
5) Report using the ‘MySAPS’ App
All reports may be submitted anonymously

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