By Tebello Theledi – 06 Nov 2020
Acting Director VUT Community Engagement, Mr Joseph Radebe addressing the participants
Human trafficking is a horrible crime that violates an individual’s most basic human rights and affects millions of people worldwide. The 29th of October 2020 was marked a Gauteng provincial day of action against human trafficking at the Vaal University of Technology. The Community Engagement department in partnership with Protection Services, Advancement, Student Support Services and Social Justice and Transformation departments held the Human trafficking march and a gender-based violence campaign at the VUT bus shuttles grounds.
Human trafficking is a sensationalized issue and discussions tend to center around the idea of “rescuing victims,” However, this eliminates important aspects of the problem. Human trafficking overlaps with many social issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, extreme poverty and gender-based violence.
The VUT Human trafficking and Gender Based Violence Awareness program is an intervention by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Social Development, Sport, Arts and Culture to bring together coordinated government Departments, NGO’s Community Leaders, and other social partners to respond to Human Trafficking and Gender Based Violence and thereby establishing consistent and long term impactful solutions.
One of the exhibitions that took place
The goal of these interventions is to implement a legacy project that will result a in long term behavioral change and community activism through awareness-raising and community engagement activities. The programme on the 29th of November 2020 and the intended launch of the VUT Victim Friendly facility is considered as a launch of that medium to long-term intervention (NO “hit and run”) Establishment of a Multi-stakeholder Community Engagement Programme.
In his welcoming address, the Acting Director VUT Community Engagement, Mr Joseph Radebe, welcomed all stakeholders and called them to extend these programs to society, “We hope and wish your participation and efforts will have a sustainable impact in society.” Paying tribute to the two VUT female students who lost their lives on Monday 26 October at the student accommodation with suspicion of substance abuse, Mr Radebe said, “We cannot fold our hands as VUT and let these kind of incidents take their hold on society, we will be launching the VUT victim empowerment center as a safe harbor for human trafficking and gender based violence victims. This will be a full package supported by the government,” he said.
Communicating to the audiences about the problem of human trafficking and how everyone can be part of the solution, Moja dance group conveyed the massage of the day through dance performance and drama.
Moja group performing in song and dance
Ms Ouma Malimabe Manager Social Development expressed the need to share information about human trafficking and alcohol abuse to empower the community especially the young ones. “Whether you are an adult or a child, you can be victimized, let us say No to drugs and No to human trafficking,” she expressed.
The prevalence and complexity of human trafficking requires a response from all sectors of society. Warrant officer Lebitso from the Hawks said that bringing awareness to society as a collective, has a great impact and motivates others to help act.
This campaign highlighted proactive efforts to identify and assist victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence by bringing together all likeminded institutions and sectors of society to raise awareness on the impact of human trafficking and gender-based violence.