My name is Charles Ephraim Luhanga, co-founder of Fula Africa. Fula Africa is a non-governmental organization based in Pretoria, South Africa. It’s aim is to promote the dignity of the victims of trafficking in persons in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region at large. Fula Africa provides translation services to rescued victims of trafficking in persons and also raises awareness on the scourge of trafficking in persons among communities in South Africa.
To mark today’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, I have some experiences to share. My notable moment was when Fula Africa launched the Wamama Chronicles booklet in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional office for Southern Africa.
The Wamama Chronicles tell the stories of several women who were subjected to various forms of abuse by traffickers and smugglers on their way to South Africa from Malawi to seek for a better life. The booklet is a stark reminder of the horrors of victims of trafficking in persons and smuggled migrants experience at the hands of criminals. It also serves as awareness-raising tool, not only for the general public but also for law enforcement and other agencies with a statutory duty to protect victims of trafficking in persons.
When the booklet was launched, it shocked South African authorities and moved them to action. As a result, the first intelligence-driven operation, “Operation Batho I”, targeting human trafficking syndicates along the South African and Malawian trafficking route was undertaken by both South Africa and Malawi law enforcement agencies with the support of the UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa. Operation Batho I is a counter-human trafficking intelligence-driven operation targeting human trafficking syndicates along various human trafficking routes. The highlights of the operation included the arrests of about 21 suspected traffickers and the rescue of 87 victims of human trafficking.
Following the success of the first Operation Batho, a second intelligence-driven operation targeting human trafficking syndicates was simultaneously undertaken between October and November 2019 by various SADC members states. It resulted in the arrest dozens of traffickers and rescued of victims of human trafficking.
To view the short documentary shown at the launch of the Wamama Chronicles, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWDZiuRazb4&feature=youtu.be