Human Trafficking Prevention Online Course (FREE) - SSC Legacy
Thank You Human Trafficking Course
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Human Trafficking Prevention Online Course

This course is offered as a free online course in an effort to create more awareness about Human Trafficking.

Join Hope Risen on a short course to learn more about Human Trafficking in South Africa

Hope Risen (formerly known as Hope For Women) was founded in 2009 with the vision to spread love, hope and justice in the quest to end modern day slavery and exploitation. We are doing this through prevention and awareness initiatives carried out alongside direct interventions to rescue, restore and reintegrate women, men and children who have been exploited.


You can donate to Hope Risen to help them continue their work via Payfast or by contacting them on You can also become a volunteer, Cycle for Hope or become involved as a corporate as part of your Corporate Social Responsibility.

Trafficking thrives in secrecy: the less people know about it and the fewer who believe that it’s happening, the easier it is for traffickers to carry out their activities. That’s why we place a heavy emphasis on building awareness; because prevention is better than cure. Hope Risen educates the public on the inner-workings of this industry, both to arm people with the knowledge that can protect them from this fate, and to dismantle the systems that drive trafficking.

Human trafficking in numbers

  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men
  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women
  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women
  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders

Source: The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)


Statistics relating to South Africa:

  • It is estimated that 30,000 children are being prostituted in South Africa.
  • Half of these children are younger than 14 years.
  • Children as young as four are prostituted.
  • There are up to 10,000 child prostitutes in Johannesburg.
  • Up to 1,000 girls are trafficked to South Africa from Mozambique each year.
  • The Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo are the main “recruitment” areas for victims of human trafficking.

Source: World Hope South Africa, schools curriculum

Tips to avoid becoming a victim of Human Trafficking

Modus Operandi

  • South Africans are not immune to human traffickers that use the glitz and glamour of being a model or prey on people’s desperation for employment.
  • South Africa is a SOURCE, TRANSIT and DESTINATION country for victims of trafficking according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Victims can be forced into becoming sex workers, forced or slave labour, child soldiers, to become beggars, have their organs harvested or married off without consent.
  • People trapped by traffickers are often trying to escape poverty or discrimination, improve their lives and support their families. When they arrive they find that the work does not exist, or conditions are completely different. They become trapped, reliant on their traffickers and extremely vulnerable. Their documents are often taken away and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.

How Traffickers lure victims

  • Fake job offers in another city or abroad
  • Relationships are started to win trust; victims will then trafficked into the sex trade or slavery
  • Social Media sites are the most common tools used by traffickers to research and select potential victims

Human trafficking starts with the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring and handing off of victims. The victims are then threatened, forced or coerced into prostitution, sexual exploitation. forced labour, slavery, organ removal or forced marriage.


  • Think before you share your life and location on social media
  • Do not accept job offers from strangers via social media and meet them in another city to go somewhere else
  • Verify all job offers before travelling to secondary locations
  • Call them on a LAND line to confirm they are a legitimate company and are recruiting
  • Sign a contract with your employer before you leave your home
  • Call the South African Chamber of Commerce and check that the recruiting company is a registered company
  • Before accepting a job in a foreign country, check on the immigration website and find out for yourself what the visa requirements are
  • Let a family member or friends know whom you’re meeting, where you’ll be etc.
  • Do not hand over your ID or passport to a stranger
  • Think twice when you are offered a job that requires no qualifications, offers free housing and transport, plus the free processing of your visa and/or work permit
  • If they offer to organise for you to cross a border illegally or offers to obtain travel documents illegally – think twice

Report it

  • If you have knowledge of someone being a victim of trafficking – or are a victim, report it.
  • Contact the Hope Risen Foundation via their website
  • Or the National Human Trafficking Hotline on 0800 222 777 or report it online via
  • Call the SAPS on 10111

Types of Human Trafficking

Sexual exploitation, such as forced prostitution, pornography, training to deal with particular fetishes, etc. This can be found happening in brothels as well as massage parlours and gentleman’s clubs, to name a few

Forced labour, which usually involves work that is difficult, dirty or dangerous. This commonly happens in industries such as fishing, mining and agriculture

Organ trafficking, referring to the forced removal and illegal sale of body parts, usually for the black market, “muthi” or the medical field where people are willing to pay a high price to skip the system.

Child exploitation and forced labour. Where mobilisation and exploitation are present with minors under the age of 18, it is considered child trafficking. Child labour is any work that is not suitable for children and will have a negative impact on their social, physical or emotional development. Examples include the textiles industry, and coffee and coco harvesting. Children are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation, such as pornography and molestation. They may also be targeted to “groom” them for a life in the sex industry when they are older.

Who is involved in Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is an organised crime, so there is a whole structure of different roles involved in it: there’s the spotter, recruiter, buyer, seller, transporter, harbourer, financier, brothel keeper, pimp and clientele.

The system is such that even those among the perpetrator ring may not comprehend the magnitude of what they are involved in (take, for example, this story of X).

So what is the profile of the typical trafficker? What should we be on the lookout for?

The trafficker can be anyone. This is what makes it such a challenging crime to prevent. It can be gangs and syndicates or friends and family: 54% of cases involve strangers, while 46% of cases involve someone the victim already knows. Although men are the most common perpetrators, the number of women linked to trafficking offenses is growing, with human trafficking featuring a higher percentage of female traffickers than any other organised crime. Traffickers can be young, even teenagers as the story of 8 days shows us, or they can be an elderly couple as several other cases have revealed. They can be lay people, people entrenched in a wider lifestyle of crime, or even law enforcement and government officials.

And who are the people being trafficked? Again, they can be anyone. Women are a disproportionate percentage of the sex trafficking cases, while men are a larger percentage of labour trafficking and organ trafficking cases. Vulnerable groups are more likely to be targeted: children, women, refugees and lower income communities.

However, it is by no means limited to these people: a lonely adult looking for a relationship is vulnerable, middle to high income people seeking out new job opportunities are vulnerable. Awareness and vigilance are great measures to protect our communities from trafficking, but there is also a need to fight it at its roots since traffickers will always find ways to ensnare people that can be difficult or impossible to anticipate and pre-empt.

Components of Human Trafficking


Moving, recruiting, selling, leasing, harbouring and so on of a human being. A person doesn’t have to be moved across borders to be considered “trafficked”. It can be within the country, and even from one house to another within the same area. The point is that they are being treated as property to be loaned out, moved about and controlled.


There are many means by which a recruiter ensnares a victim. They may deceive them with promises of work and a glorious lifestyle, take advantage of vulnerability – such as the trust of children or through a romantic relationship. They may abuse a position of authority and power. So it’s not always a dramatic kidnapping, but it does always involve forms of manipulation and psychological control.

Further to this, you will not always find trafficking victims locked up in cages or bound with chains. Traffickers use many ways to keep control; debt bondage, drug addiction and abuse tactics that have victims believing that they somehow deserve to be there, or that it is a product of their own choice rather than coercion and exploitation.


Finally, all human trafficking has one goal: exploitation. This includes blatant forms of exploitation and slavery, such as forced labour and forced removal of organs, but it also includes more insidious and discreet forms of exploitation: for example, paying labourers and women in the sex industry for their services, but only paying a tiny amount and then insisting that what they get paid has to cover rent at the brothel, or the flight that traffickers paid for to transport them to their new destination.

Red Flags to help identify potential Human Trafficking

The following Red Flags can be used to help identify potential Human Trafficking cases. If you have come across an incident that may have the following Red Flags contact Hope Risen as soon as possible.

  • No local dialects
  • New arrival in the country
  • Lack of documentation / documents controlled by someone else
  • Debt bondage
  • Child accompanied by an unrelated adult
  • Submissive / signs of fear / depression / extreme nervousness
  • Lack of freedom to move
  • Watched 24/7 or living with employer
  • Poor living conditions
  • Answers appear scripted or rehearsed
  • Give a vague / inconsistent explanation of where they live and work
  • Appears to move location frequently
  • Unpaid or paid very little
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Under 18 and in prostitution / providing commercial sex acts
  • Serious injuries left untreated & vague or reluctant to explain
  • Evidence of long term multiple injuries
  • Signs of physical abuse or general physical neglect
  • Branding tattoos
  • Indications of mental, physical or sexual trauma
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Pregnant / previous abortions
  • Drug addiction
  • Disordered eating or poor nutrition
  • Evidence of self-harm
  • Dental pain
  • Fatigue
  • Non-specific symptoms of PTSD
  • Symptoms of psychiatric and psychological distress
  • Back or stomach pain, skin problems, headaches and dizzy spells

Human Trafficking: Protecting Children from being exploited by Human Traffickers

Book a speaker from the Hope Risen Foundation to raise awareness at your school, church, company or event. Visit

Watch these videos about Human Trafficking

I survived human trafficking in Johannesburg - Grizelda Grootboom

Expressions: Human Trafficking, 12 October 2020

Special Assignment - Human Trafficking, 30 June 2019

Real Talk with Anele Season 3 Episode 84 - Human Trafficking

Sex Trafficking in America (full documentary) | FRONTLINE