Human trafficking finds itself under the spotlight, with seven foreign nationals appearing in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, November 21.
This follows the arrest of the four men and three women on November 12; during a joint operation by the Department of Labour’s inspection and enforcement service, police and Hawks
The accused are allegedly involved in the trafficking of illegal immigrants. As well as subjecting them to forced labour.
In a statement released by Gauteng’s chief labour inspector, advocate Michael Msiza, the department’s joint operation took place at the premises of a company situated at Village Deep in Johannesburg.
An audit by the department shows there a total of 91 people are employed by the business in question, with minor children working alongside their adult colleagues.
The accused are also allegedly in violation of various labour legislations. This ranges from the National Minimum Wage, Occupational Health and Safety Act to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
The accused are also allegedly guilty of non-compliance of the Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act.
This is after the department found the accused owed the unemployment insurance fund a staggering R261 231.42 for non-registration, declaration and payments to the 91 staff members.
The accused are still to be formally charged and will return to court on November 28 for a formal bail application. During this time, they will remain in custody.
With the seven foreign nationals facing possible jail time for their crimes, how bad is human trafficking?
Human trafficking was recently officially labelled as the fastest growing illegal industry globally, with forced labour generating an estimated annual profit of $150 billion according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The ILO claims there are an estimated 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally. Out of this staggering number, there are an expected 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour. Out of these people, approximately 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture.
Well done to the authorities for ensuring justice prevails in the fight against human trafficking.