A21 to launch helpline, host freedom walk

A21 is preparing for its third annual Walk For Freedom in October in Sea Point. The organisation works towards ending human trafficking.

An international organisation fighting human trafficking will launch a helpline here later this month to offer guidance to both the authorities and victims of the crime.

A21 was founded eight years ago by Christine Caine and the first office was started in Greece. The office in Cape Town, was established in March 2013. With 11 offices in 10 countries, the organisation is committed to combating slavery across the globe

According to A21 spokeswoman Rene Hanekom, the UN has identified human trafficking as one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world.

Ms Hanekom said: “A21 is comprised of individuals from all walks of life, united by a passionate desire to see the injustices of human trafficking and exploitation abolished in the 21st Century. ”

Ms Hanekom said it is hard to pin down reliable statistics for human trafficking because before 2013 all cases of trafficking were subsumed under other crimes, such as rape, kidnapping, organised crime.

“The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates 248 700 people or 0.45 percent of the total population live in conditions of modern slavery in South Africa,” she said.

The resource line would be a tool for government, civil society groups and ordinary citizens to “to report suspected trafficking, receive assistance as well as guidance on all matters relating to human trafficking”.

A21 is also preparing for its third annual Walk For Freedom. The walk takes place on October 15 along the Sea Point Promenade

Ms Hanekom said: “In over 250 locations around the world, we will lace up our shoes, put black tape on our mouths, and march in single-file to eradicate modern-day slavery for good. Why do we walk? We walk for children like Nina*, who was only seven years old when she was sold into prostitution by her parents.”

Registration for the walk is now open open at http://www.a21.org/ campaigns/content/walk-for-freedom-2016. For more information on the resource line, you can visit www.0800222777.org.za.

*Names have been changed.