In an effort to raise awareness and educate about Trafficking in Persons (TiP) across the country, South Africa marks 2-9 October as National Human Trafficking Awareness Week 2015. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will run a series of events aimed at advancing public awareness about the reality of Trafficking in South Africa and the world at large.

The crime of human trafficking is being committed in South Africa, but due to its hidden nature, is very difficult to quantify. The assistance provided to victims by IOM shows that South Africans are being trafficked to other countries; that traffickers use the country as a transit destination; and that people are trafficked to the country from other parts of the world including Eastern Europe and Asia.

IOM launched a TiP awareness campaign during the Trafficking Awareness Week in 2014, #TRAPPED, designed by University of Johannesburg (UJ) students as part of their Strategic Communication curriculum through an annual partnership that IOM has with UJ’s Department of Strategic Communication.

In supporting the government of South Africa in the fight against human trafficking, IOM is extending the #TRAPPED campaign by launching several information outreach activities during this special awareness week. In partnership with City of Tshwane, and accompanied by the Hawks, IOM will visit communities under the Tshwane Region 5 (Cullinan, Roodeplaat, and Rayton) to conduct dialogues and information sessions.

“Human Trafficking is our reality, not a thing of the past; in fact it is one of the most profitable criminal activities around the world. Out of millions of men, women and children trafficked each year, only a fraction of the victims are able to escape from the exploitation. IOM helps victims return to normal lives often after years of appalling abuse and cruelty,” says Richard Ots, IOM South Africa Chief of Mission.