The Baagi Ba West Rand Forum kicked off an awareness campaign to educate the public about human trafficking, drug smuggling and child pornography on Thursday, 26 April.
The forum decried these behaviours and said many desperate, unemployed and vulnerable young women become involved in these activities. Today, many of these women are far away from their homes, because they have been detained in foreign countries for drug smuggling.
Scores of men, women and children were seen marching through the Randfontein CBD with placards bearing messages condemning these activities.
General Secretary and founder of Baagi Ba West Rand, Glory Matipile, said the drive was also held to support a local family whose daughter is currently in detention in Brazil after a drug bust in earlier this year.
She said there are other young women on the West Rand who have also been recruited for pornography.
“A DVD of a local young woman who was recruited for pornography has been doing the rounds in Johannesburg, under the title Mapona Mzansi. We felt that we could not allow this to continue, because as long as it happens, even if only to a few people, these activities will continue.”
She said the family of the woman arrested in Brazil felt it was time to speak out and help educate people about how their daughter was lured into drug trafficking.
“They use people who want quick cash,” Matipile said. She said there have been other cases in which young women, who are suspected of having fallen victim to similar crimes, had gone missing
“We want to send the message out to different parts of the country so that we can create a widespread campaign.”
Matipile said many of the victims who fall prey to such scams think they can make quick cash from their ‘employers’.
The Herald’s mother newspaper, the Citizen, reported in an article last year that: “Young South African women are easy pickings for international drug traffickers looking for ‘mules’ to carry drugs around the world. Experts say international drug smugglers lure or coerce women into becoming drug mules for them.”
Also Read: Missing child every five hours in SA
In an interview with Patricia Gerber from the Advocacy Organisation ‘Locked Up in a Foreign Country’, Gerber said: “The recruiters befriend the victims and promise them jobs or send parcels for them to carry overseas. They also get others hooked on drugs and, if they fail to pay them, they are ordered to travel abroad to transport parcels.”
Other organisations that partnered in the campaign included Rand West City Local Municipality; Public Safety; the Mayor’s Office; Randfontein Police; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs; the Department of Social Development; the Department of Education and School Governing Bodies; Government Communication and Information Systems; Trudy’s Nest; Itsoseng; Women Against Women Abuse, and the Community Police Forum.
Read more on the story in the Citizen.
Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at email@example.com (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.
For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites