“What’s exciting to me is to see churches across South Africa are now reaching out to prostituted women every week after receiving our training.” Kimberly Middlebooks – Focus Leader for Justice Mobilizes. “I get emails from them all the time.”
“Five girls were rescued in one week,” says Diane Hall, the Johannesburg representative of Justice ACTs. “We just thought these girls were simply ready to leave a life of prostitution, but it turned out every one of them was a victim of human trafficking.” Hall was working in partnership with a church who receive our prostitution outreach training.
“I met with a [prostituted] girl for coffee. She just told me of some kids being prostituted. We know where to find them…” Justice ACTs Staff
Project 2:19 24/7 Prayer Room Focusing on Human Trafficking:
“We have seen God move in incredible ways…around 125 girls have been rescued from brothels or similar types of captivity (across the nation)…at least 5 people have given their lives to the Lord…a tremendous amount of awareness has been raised concerning human trafficking….people of different races, nationalities, and generations have rejoiced, prayed, cried and worshiped together…and lives have been changed. If that is not amazing enough, I dare to say that many of the people who have come in and out of this room to pray have had encounters with God that have changed them!”
“The beer mats are great conversation starters,” reported Noel Cameron, a volunteer with the prayer house, handing out Justice ACTs counter-trafficking tools targeting buyers of sex. “We go into the bars inside youth hostels and people just start talking to us about human trafficking, sexuality and God. I’ve had the most amazing conversations.”
Training on Counter-Trafficking:
“I can’t believe I trained the entire police force of one of the largest townships in Johannesburg on how to tap into the power of God to stop human trafficking. I love my job,” says Kimberly Middlebrooks, co-leader of the World Cup Outreach.
“I just had a huge police officer thank me. He said he didn’t know anything about human trafficking and now understands he must treat prostituted women with fairness and dignity because that’s the only way he’ll be able to find out if she’s a victim of human trafficking,” reported Tonya Stanfield, director of Justice ACTs.
“I trained an entire room full of crèche (day care) workers from townships. They’re now setting up a system to protect the children better. Right now, anyone can pick up the kids, so they’re changing that,” said Rebecca Salameh, Justice ACTs staff.
“Incredible things are happening in Johannesburg, communities are coming together after trainings to launch their own counter-trafficking movements, in some of the most dangerous areas,” reports Diane Hall, the Justice ACTs Johannesburg representative.
“Just a few days after I heard Traffick Proof, I had the two guys approach me. They told me I was beautiful and told me they had opportunities in film and modeling in the USA, if I wanted to go with them. Because I took your training, I right off they weren’t legitimate. I told them to get away from me…” says, a recipient of our Traffick Proof Training.
“My favorite Traffick Proof presentation was to one girl working as a prostitute in Fish Hoek,” says Christina Bacino, who has taught thousands on human trafficking. “I did this with a missionary friend who was trying to reach out to her. We taught her about human trafficking and safe sex; something she knew nothing about. Apparently, it was a turning point in her life… She’s not working the streets anymore.”
“At a presentation, we told the story of the teenage girl being romanced by a Trafficker. A girl came up afterwards, she’d been getting ready to run off with this guy she just met. Her situation sounded just like the story we told…. She’s not going with now,” reported Katie Arney, a World Cup volunteer.
“We trained a church to present Traffick Proof, and they took it to nineteen schools in Durban and even recorded to play in a loop in the reception area at the local hospital,” said Felicity Davies, a World Cup volunteer.
“We trained a primary school and the students spoke up about a pedophile they all knew about. We had the students report this to the principal who is contacting the police,” said Rebecca Salameh, Justice ACTs staff.
What Were the Affects of the 2010 World Cup on Human Trafficking in South Africa?
Leading up the 2010 World Cup, an alarm went off in South Africa and as a result…
A nation became aware of the growing issue of trafficking in their neighborhoods.
Thousands and thousands of ‘at risk’ South Africans were reached with empowering preventative knowledge. Justice ACTs alone has reached at least 45,000 South Africans with our Traffick Proof campaign. Police, social workers and other service providers scrambled to receive training to recognize human trafficking and how to respond to it. Whole schools across the nation were Traffick Proofed. Parents learned how to protect their children. The government drafted a comprehensive bill on human trafficking and pushed it into Parliament. In short, where human trafficking was a phrase most didn’t understand, it is now a mandate making its way into police stations, schools curriculums and social worker’s offices. While there’s still MUCH work to be done, South Africa was shaken awake to the issue of human trafficking because the World Cup touched down on its shores.
During the lead up to the games, Justice ACTs worked hard to maintain a non-alarmist stand regarding the dire predictions and unsubstantiated numbers of people that may be trafficked. Getting accurate information was not easy, and we adjusted accordingly. Now we’re asked the question, “How did the World Cup affect human trafficking?” It’s important for future World Cup games, to report our observations, so we can learn as a global culture.
It’s impossible to gather accurate statistics as to how human trafficking was affected by the World Cup in South Africa. In a nation with no comprehensive law against human trafficking, there are no accurate pre-World Cup statistics; the police are not trained to recognize victims; there are no safe houses catering exclusively to trafficking victims. Even the International Organization for Migration and their help-line number will only be able to report on a fraction of the statistics, as much counter-trafficking in this nation is done by NGO’s and churches, who will rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims themselves, not reporting to anyone. As of yet, there’s no recognized protocol on handling victims in South Africa and much mistrust of law enforcement.
That said, in our view, human trafficking did increase some during the months leading up to the World Cup. The anticipated increase in demand for sex resulted in brothels packed to the brim with foreign women. In addition, “B and B” licenses were nicknamed “Bed and Brothel” permits by members of the National Prosecuting Authority. A Pakistani crime syndicate was relieved of 100,000 false birth certificates and documents intended to import girls as “exotic dancers” to gentlemen’s clubs. Many of these women came willingly to capitalize on an anticipated demand that did not deliver, but some were victims of human trafficking.
Important Lesson: Even the speculation of increased demand escalated the need for supply.
Papers reported on the raids of brothels like never before.
Were there more raids than normal? Or, were the papers simply interested because of the hot topics of sex tourism, human trafficking and the World Cup? How many girls arrested in those raids were trafficking victims? We will never know. We’ll also never know how many are still inside those brothels against their will.
Important Observation: It’s integral to the fight against human trafficking to ascertain if women taken out of brothels and gentlemen’s clubs are indeed victims or willingly working as prostitutes. This is far harder than it sounds and requires special training and services.
The police cracked down on prostitution with a new vigor.
The streets of Cape Town, at least, looked completely different to the Justice ACTs team. The Fan Walks and official FIFA Party Streets were cleared of street kids and working girls. From what we understand, this is the opposite of what happened in Germany during the last World Cup. Of course, in Germany, prostitution is a legal trade. But, it does seem male sex tourism was flat during the South African games. Many believe this was a phenomenon in South Africa due to its AIDS rate. Many believe it was the mass amount of preventative work and even prayer going into these games.
Important Question: Perhaps the impact of the World Cup is different from nation to nation?
Justice ACTs saw God at work in a nation using the World Cup as a catalyst for action and awareness.
Victims were rescued. Whole communities rose up to combat human trafficking in their midst. Educators grasped the mandate to protect school children and inform parents. Churches were mobilized across the country to reach out to prostituted women, vulnerable communities and to pray.
Important Observation: Years of prayer and hard work went into protecting the most vulnerable of South Africa from being exploited during the Soccer World Cup.
No doubt, we saw the fruit of that labor as well.