Concerns over Rising Incidence of Kidnapping and Human Trafficking in South Africa

Concerns over Rising Incidence of Kidnapping and Human Trafficking in South Africa
Susan Abro of Susan Abro Attorney. Photography by Jacky Herbst

The recent disappearance of six year old Joshlin Smith in Saldana Bay has raised concerns over the increasing prevalence of kidnapping and human trafficking in the country.

Joshlin’s mother, Kelly Smith and her boyfriend Jacquin Appollis have since been arrested along with two other suspects and charged with kidnapping and human trafficking.

“Parents have a duty and responsibility to their children and tragically in this case they have failed,” says Susan Abro, of Susan Abro Attorney.

According to Missing Children South Africa, more than 1,300 cases of kidnapping are reported to police in South Africa every month.

“The alarming rate of kidnapping, coupled with the fact that South Africa has been declared a human trafficking hub, is deeply concerning. South Africa is seen as a transit, export and import country for human trafficking victims. It is reprehensible that individuals, mostly children, are trafficked both out of and into our borders for exploitation purposes,” adds Abro.

Abro offers some advice for parents:

  • Stay informed: Educate yourself about the signs and risks of kidnapping and human trafficking.
  • Communication: Have open and age-appropriate conversations with your children about personal safety. Teach them to recognise potential dangers and to trust their instincts.
  • Supervision: Always know where your children are and who they are with. Supervise their online activities and social media interactions to mitigate potential exploitation and grooming as well as cyber bullying risks.
  • Safety measures: Teach them emergency contact information and how to seek help if they feel threatened.
  • Trustworthy adults: Help your children identify trusted adults who they can turn to if they need help or feel uncomfortable in a situation.
  • Report suspicious activity: If you notice anything unusual or concerning in your neighbourhood or community, don’t hesitate to report it to the relevant authorities and security organisations.
  • Stay connected: Stay connected with other parents and community members to share information and support each other in keeping our children safe.
  • Be vigilant: Always remember what your children are wearing. Keep track of your children’s appearance, maintain up-to-date records of their physical characteristics and have a recent photograph of them on hand.

“As we approach Human Rights Day, let us remain vigilant, proactive and united in our efforts to protect our children from the dangers of kidnapping and human trafficking. Let us prioritise their safety and wellbeing above all else,” concludes Abro.