Poor and jobless women vulnerable
High levels of unemployment and poverty cause more South African women and children to fall prey to human trafficking syndicates.
A conference in Durban on fighting human trafficking heard that the problem is escalating in South Africa and inthe rest of the world.
Dawn Coleman, a senior state advocate with a national prosecuting authority task team fighting the scourge, said human trafficking is the third most widespread criminal activity after arms and drugs.
She would not discuss cases her team had worked on because they are still in progress.
Coleman warned people looking for jobs overseas to first establish contact with the embassy in the foreign country. And she advised travellers to arrange their own documents rather than allowing anyone else to do it for them.
She said trafficking victims are often intimidated that they would be arrested for reporting the crime, because they were in the foreign country illegally.
"If the job offer sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true," Coleman said.
Modiri Matthews, a senior inspector with the home affairs department, said human trafficking was conducted by organised syndicates.
He said the department was attending the conference to incorporate its findings in regulating how people entered and left the country.