John and Bethany Arndt

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Sex Trafficking in South Africa

Posted on by bethany

Two years ago I was bored one evening and went to the book store to pick out a new book to read. I happen to pick up a huge book titled, ‘ A Crime so Monstrous’ by E. Benjamin Skinner. I was riveted by this undercover journalist who was writing an expose on human trafficking in various countries around the world. His compelling accounts were not only shockingly disturbing but they also gave a solid framework for prevention efforts and the lack there of, within various governments. At the time I was a member of

Justice [Acts] (www.justiceacts.org) which my friend and fellow missionary, Tonya Stanfield had just founded. Justice [Acts] is a alliance of  Christians countering human trafficking in South Africa (SA).

Little did I know at the time that indeed our speculations about SA being both a sending and receiving country for human trafficking would not only prove entirely true, but now Justic Acts’ prevention specialists can hardly do a single training of “Traffick Proof” without hearing people’s accounts of how their friends and family have gone missing, never to return. Justice Acts has been a catalyst in SA for launching a government established counter trafficking coalition, as well as successfully lobbying against the legalization of prostitution in this country. Would you believe in SA its illegal to sell sex, but not illegal to buy?

In fact just a couple weeks ago one of my close friends Christina Bacino, also a Justice Acts team member (www.christinabacino.com) was at Oceanview primary school teaching the kids how to protect them selves from being trafficked, when she saw and called on Lydia, my “little sister” from our VC program. Lydia couldn’t wait to tell me that day when I saw her in Masi.               ” Guess What Bethany? I have good news!”, he said as she hopped in my car. She made me chuckle at her “good news” when she reported of how Christina was at her school that day. She later asked me very serioiusly, “But who can I trust then?” I was deeply saddened that this  8 year old has to face the reality that she is actually at risk for  being sold.

Lydia’s mom will probably not live to see her fully grown due to AIDS, but I do know that she would never consider selling her daughter. When I told Lydia that she could trust her mother, she exclaimed that she didn’t know if thats true. She said this because after the Traffick Proof presentation, a little girl in her class told everyone that her mom tried to sell her when she was 5 years old. Lydia said this child started crying as she told her story, of how if it were not for her grandmother her mom would have sold her to someone.

Yesterday I was chatting with another dear friend in Masi. She was telling me about her aunt who once jumped on the back of a truck, whose driver boasted of jobs. She was wearing her primary school uniform, and they never saw her again. Years later they were presented with a newborn baby boy, the woman who delivered him to the family said she was a friend of her aunt’s and that they were prostitutes together in Johannesburg. He is 15 now and has never met or spoken to his mother.

It wasn’t long after I read this book, that the rest of the Justice Acts team quickly read it and passed it on. I was always intrigued by its author, not merely his passion for justice concerning modern day slavery, but his head shot at the back of the book was not too shabby! When I found out that he was coming to Cape Town for an article, and that Justice Acts was hosting him, I definitely had hopes of being his tour guide ; )  After being swept away with Baby Safe responsibilities last year, I had to step away from Justice Acts but my friends continue to work alongside the government, law enforcement, and the “at risk” to counter this crime so monstrous. You can find an article that Benjamin Skinner wrote for TIME while visiting South Africa below.

With the World Cup 2010 taking place in this country in less than two months, Justice Acts is preparing to intervene with trafficked victims in the 5 stadium cities. Law enforcement called them at 10pm this past Saturday, they had just rescued two victims, and they were asking what they should do now? I found them beds at an emergency shelter and we were on our way to fetch them when we were told that the two released from captivity actually fled and returned to get their friends.

Will you pray for wisdom and resources for a much needed safe house to be established here?

Would you considering helping me cover the fees for an online course that will train me specifically in counseling rescued victims? It is called Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (www.tfcbtmesc.edu). To learn more, email me at bethany@thebabysafe.org.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952335-3,00.html#ixzz0lBx0tvDF

Do Justice; Love Mercy.

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2 Responses to Sex Trafficking in South Africa

  1. Barb Burge says:

    That is SO disturbing Bethany. A topic the Lord has recently burdened my heart with. What does the training cost? I will get the book…Thanks for informing us.

  2. hi Mercy
    Im a student @ University Fort Hare and im doing my masters in Criminology and my topic is on Human trafficking. I would like to ask where can I get this book and how much is it. Thank you in advance

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