Experts seek improved support for human trafficking victims

Pretoria: Social welfare experts have called for improved coordination and integration of services between various role players to give better support to victims of human trafficking.

This emerged from a roundtable that was held in Pretoria on Friday by the Department of Social Development.

The meeting also sought to advance the implementation of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, as well as find new ways to combat human trafficking.

The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act was signed into law in July 2013.

The roundtable highlighted the importance of improving the coordination of victim support services throughout the support spectrum and referral system.

Other recommendations from the roundtable include:

The fast-tracking of integrated information management systems between role players;

While the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act has been signed into law, its operationalization is dependent on regulations and national directives and instructions that are required to be made by a number of role-playing departments. The roundtable therefore called for a rapid finalisation of these issues in order for the Act to be fully implemented;

Continuous research must be conducted to make more data available for better understanding of the human trafficking phenomenon. Research would also help in capacity building for practitioners;

Government must make sufficient resources available to fight human trafficking; and

Programmes must emphasise prevention of human trafficking through public education initiatives.

Raising awareness

Meanwhile, the multi-sectoral national task team set up by government will embark on an aggressive educational awareness campaign building up to Child Protection Week, which runs from 27 May – 2 June.

The task team comprises the departments of Justice and Constitutional Development, Home Affairs, Social Development, National Prosecuting Authority, South African Police Service, civil society representatives and international organisations.

The task team will also work with provincial governments to revive the provincial and district human trafficking response teams.

Investment will also be made into the training of practitioners in the identification and screening of victims.

An indaba on human Trafficking will be held in October 2015 to check progress on these undertakings and the implementation of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS