On the 28th to 30th August 2023, the Cross-Border Crime Forum Committee held a human trafficking awareness campaign for Basotho, who reside in Ladybrand, Ficksburg and Qwa-Qwa towns 9Freestate Province of South Africa, the aim of the awareness is to combat trafficking in persons in those towns (TIP in those towns).
Cross Border Crime Forum Committee (CBCFC) representative Mr. Litaba Mohapi embraced the awareness initiatives being very appropriate due to high rate of crime practiced between the borders of the two countries Lesotho and South Africa as the above-mentioned places are very close to the borders. He further requested that awareness ought to be frequent so that reporting of such cases becomes automatic. said people should always be informed so that they can always be ready to report TIP cases around them.
Senior Inspector Beleme Moerane from Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) said TIP occurs in many ways being one can be forced to work either without being paid or being underpaid/ forced to sexual intercourse/be used as drug mule. S/Insp Moerane pleaded with the community to look at the red flags of TIP as one can be trafficked by people very close to them either friends/ relatives, friends, neighbors, or even strangers.
Home Affairs Commissioner for Refugees Lesotho Mr. Mohlolo Lerotholi stressed the issue of undocumented Basotho who are staying in South Africa. He advised them to go home and apply for identity documents as this can also stop this modern slavery since their employers would refrain from the practice of maltreating Basotho nationals as they would be documented, and the local security will lessen harassing them as Basotho.
Moreover, the Commissioner mentioned the issue of internally displaced people. He indicated that there are many different courses of internal displacement, and those include battles among the communities, poverty, gender-based violence, and other popular courses like Famo killings. He stated that some of these courses lead to human trafficking as lack of essential needs such as shelter and food, lead to people being vulnerable to TIP.
Moreover, Brigade Molefe from the Republic of South African Police reprimanded criminal activities in those areas such as illegal crossing, human trafficking and stock theft. She also urged people to report unlawful activities that are practiced in their communities.
The event was graced by the presence of the principal chiefs of Qwa-Qwa and priests from different churches.
In conclusion, there was candle lighting to remember and pray for those who lost their lives in battle, the survivors, and those who are still locked behind by their perpetrators. The aim for candle lighting was also to pray to Almighty God to release and unite them with their families.