South Africa's Human Trafficking On The Rise As Two Policemen Step Forward To Stop Children From Being Marketed For Sex

Jinger Jarrett

With hundreds of children sold by their families into the sex slave trade every day, human trafficking in South Africa has become a way of life. Two former police officers, Owen Musiker and Wayne van Onsellen, formed The Unchain Our Children Organization to put an end to human trafficking in South Africa. The officers worked on child abuse cases for 25 years in Pretoria. Their goal is to expand the use of their expertise to help locals in the provence of KwaZulu-Natal to help end the sex slave trade.

As reported in News 24, an estimated 30,000 children are trafficked into South Africa every year. Musiker said he believed those numbers to be even higher.

"I think there are more children than that being trafficked and, if you think about it, the number of children trafficked in South Africa every year is almost enough to fill up all the seats in Kings Park Stadium. This was fuelled by our passion. I was with the police for 30 years in child protection and saw first hand the effects of trafficking and abuse on children."

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Although the organization receives no external funding, it is fueled by a passion for helping children. Musiker went on to say that it wasn't just the poor who sold their children. Rich and poor alike sold their children although the motivator was different, and he said the problem was getting worse.

"It is horrifying to see what these children go through, but one can only imagine what it must be like for them. Drugs, trafficking and prostitution are all linked and it is a huge problem that is only getting worse. This is not only confined to a certain class group. Rich, poor and middle class people can be involved, each with a different motivator."

Although the team is located in Pretoria, they primarily work in KwaZulu-Natal and are willing to go wherever children need help. Declaring war on human trafficking in South Africa, they hope to get the issue its own court.

According to The Herald, human trafficking in South Africa is big business because of the booming sex trade. For some, traveling to South Africa to become a part of the sex trade is the way out of a bad life in their former countries and the way into a job. South Africa provides an easier option because it is less expensive to migrate to and less difficult than the Mediterranean route. One human trafficker, Eduardo, believes that he is answering God's call by helping refugees escape from high unemployment.

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"I feel not good when I hear what happened to them in their countries. I help them because I know they are suffering in their countries. They then move to other countries because here in Mozambique, even we don't have jobs."

Many of the tips Musiker and his team received came from older prostitutes, and some currently serving police officers donate their free time to help. Stemming the flow of human trafficking in South Africa has proven difficult because so many choose to ignore the problem.

[Image via Shutterstock]