NADEL human trafficking workshop

July 22nd, 2016
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Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre members with Harshna Munglee, chairperson of the NADEL National Gender Desk, and Vershen Moodley, chairperson of NADEL Pietermaritzburg.

Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre members with Harshna Munglee, chairperson of the NADEL National Gender Desk, and Vershen Moodley, chairperson of NADEL Pietermaritzburg.

By Harshna Munglee,

On 20 June, World Refugee Day, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) held a human trafficking awareness workshop in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg Branch, Vershen Moodley noted that ‘trafficking in persons is a real issue and we must be proactive.’ National Gender Desk Officer, Harshna Munglee, added the trafficking of men, women and children is a real issue in South Africa as it can happen as close as next door without one’s knowledge.

Advocate Dawn Coleman-Malinga, prosecutor and part of the National Trafficking in Persons Task Team for the National Prosecuting Authority, presented the workshop and said it was far easier to get into human trafficking than other lucrative crimes, such as drug trafficking and arms and ammunition, as little or no capital input was needed. She outlined the various Acts and relevant sections that are connected with this intricate crime.

The presence of the Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre (UCEC) touched the hearts of those who attended, as they sat at the entrance of the workshop with their mouths and hands bound. The pamphlets held by community members of the UCEC read ‘Phone us if you are suspicious about any situation – rather phone and be wrong … than not phone and be right  …’.

One lawyer, who attended the workshop, said it was ‘a brutal awakening’. Another lawyer said ‘she was thankful for being made aware’.

Video footage was shown of real victims being captured and rescued and criminals being caught. Ms Coleman-Malinga touched on a sensitive issue of victims having Stockholm syndrome, which makes it difficult to prosecute. Ms Coleman-Malinga stressed the need for attorneys to play an active role in briefs and added that lawyers need skills to identify a person who is trafficked. Ms Coleman-Malinga welcomed lawyers to attend further training in this area.

NADEL will be taking this awareness campaign and training workshop throughout the country, through its National Gender Desk.

The next workshop will be held on ‘World Day against Trafficking of Persons’, on 30 July in Umtata and on 30 September in Port Elizabeth.

Harshna Munglee, officer of the NADEL Gender Desk, hm@hmung-lee.co.za

 This article was first published in De Rebus in 2016 (Aug) DR 8.

 

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