With one of Africa’s largest and busiest ports Durban is a major human-trafficking destination for victims within the country, region and beyond. South African children are taken from rural to urban areas to work in the sex trade or as domestic workers. Young men from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe labour on South African farms, often without pay.
Even so, there’s NO legislation that criminalises trafficking or protects victims.
An International organisation called Not for Sale estimates that, “There are more than 30 million slaves today, more than at any other time in history.”
“One of the largest challenges facing the fight…is the willingness and capacity for NGOs to work together to assist victims of trafficking and help them recover to the point that they can become survivors instead.”
Which is why, after several conversations with individuals, on Anti Trafficking Day in October 2012, Soul Action’s Rachel (RB) and Phil Bowyer (PB) began to gather leaders to explore how Christians are responding to Trafficking, to pray together and to identify gaps that could be addressed through greater collaboration.
Something amazing is happening
In 2009 Soul Action’s RB (bottom centre) had a meeting with NO (middle far right).
The young adults at her church were encouraged by their pastor to actively explore whatever social justice issues they felt prompted by God to get involved in. For NO, the thing that captivated her most was the issue of Trafficking – she founded Redlight which works with children in rural communities at risk of trafficking and women working on the streets.
NO mentored TS and her team as they go onto streets to minister to girls in their community. Pastors of a church, Soul Action first met WS and TS (middle centre) in 2011. TS met DR (centre left) at our first Counter Human Trafficking meeting in October 2012. Struck by what TS shared, DR asked to join her team on the streets. Soul Action’s PB (bottom left) and RB first met DR in October 2011.
Soul Action first met RC (middle right) at the first Counter Human Trafficking meeting on Anti Human Trafficking Day in 2012. RC is a nurse who’s passionate about restoring the worth of women who’ve left the streets, which includes finding alternative sources of income – something she was struggling with.
Restoring Fallen Nature
In February 2013 Soul Action’s RB was contacted by a local Methodist Minister who is linked to our Network. CV spoke about CZ, who makes jewellery out of things like seed pods, twigs, etc. – the things people walk by / ignore.
RB shared this with CW (bottom right), Soul Action’s Children and Families coordinator, who then spoke to RC about this opportunity after meeting with CZ.
NO’s ladies started to make Jewellery from things they find in some of the streets and parks that they used to work in – restoring the beauty in fallen nature.
A local Petrol station offered a room as a workshop, but the girls lacked tools.
A lack of tools came up in conversation at the February 2013 meeting. As a result DR mobilised his church (GU) to purchase, package and send tools – along with a handwritten letter and prayer (top centre and top right) – to the women in March during the time Soul Action / Survivor UK were shooting Make a STAND.
As of June 2013
The women, survivors of trafficking, were making and selling their jewellery locally (top left).
As things stand
From a few individual conversations a greater journey has begun (see below):