Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Urge South African Home Affairs to refuse visas for trafficked women

ACTION ALERT

As I have written before (here and here), it is expected that human trafficking into South Africa, especially for prostitution purposes, is expected to escalate in preparation for the 2010 SWC.

Please use the information presented below by Africa Christian Action to contact the relevant persons in government to help put a stop to the influx of trafficked women into South Africa!



URGE HOME AFFAIRS TO REFUSE VISAS FOR TRAFFICKED WOMEN

Local traffickers work through foreign “agents” to deceptively recruitwomen from Eastern Europe, Thailand and other countries for sexual exploitation at strip joints and brothels. These women are often recruited through deceptive job advertisements for waitressing or receptionists and promised good salaries.

Astoundingly, these women (via the “agents”) are granted work permitvisas by the Department of Home Affairs as “exotic dancers” or “showgirls”.

In May 2007, Yuri Ulianitski, allegedly one of the Cape Town’s most feared underworld figures, was assassinated. He was the owner of the Castle strip/lap dancing club in Castle Street, Cape Town.

After his death there were allegations in the media that he had been trafficking women from Eastern European for sexual exploitation in his club. As soon as the women arrived, their passports would allegedly be taken away and they would be told they would have to work off debt in what seemed to amount to debt bondage. It appeared that 6-month work permits were being obtained for the women from Home Affairs.

There have previously been allegations that Lolly Jackson, owner of‘Teazers’ strip/lap dancing chain, has been involved in sex trafficking and has, on at least two occasions, been arrested for withholding the passports of his female foreign ‘staff’.

An article has appeared in the December edition of Noseweek in which the dreadful circumstances under which foreign women are being brought into the country and exploited have been described. If the allegations are true, and they appear to have been gleaned from a leaked police docket, it would appear that Mr Jackson is exploiting the granting of permits and visas by the Department of Home Affairs to traffic in foreign women for sexual exploitation.

Since December 2007 when the Sexual Offences Amendment Act became effective, it has been unlawful in terms of section 11 for any person to buy a sexual act. A sexual act in terms of the new legislation includes a sexual violation. The latter is defined in the Act and there is no doubt that the lap dancing, which the ‘exotic dancers’ are required to perform in the course of their ‘employment’, falls within the category of sexual violation and thus constitutes an unlawful act.

In terms of section 9.5 of the Palermo Protocol, South Africa is also committed to tackling the demand that fosters the exploitation that leads to trafficking.

The abuse of visas for ‘exotic dancers’ as a means to traffic women for sexual exploitation is a worldwide phenomenon and few countries permit such visas any longer.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

You can help prevent women from being trapped in a life of sexual exploitation and slavery! Please phone, fax and write to the Minister of Women and Children and the Minister of Home Affairs alerting them to this matter and urging that no further work permits of any kind, be granted for any foreign women or men for employment as ‘showgirls’ or ‘exotic dancers’ in the lap dancing clubs. Relevant news articles cited above can be sent to you on request. Copy your letter to the Deputy Minister and the Director General of Home Affairs.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" Proverbs 31:8

Minister of Women and Children: Ms Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya
Private Bag X1000, PRETORIA, 0001
Tel: 021 - 464 2203
Fax:086 683 5275 / 086 592 4231
Secretary: tseleng@po.gov.za

Minister of Home Affairs: Dr Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma
Private Bag X741, PRETORIA, 0001
Tel:(012) 810 8039 / 6119
Fax: (012) 810 7312
E-mail: minister@dha.gov.za

Or:

Private Bag X9102, CAPE TOWN, 8000
Tel: (021) 469 1600
Fax: (021) 461 4191

Deputy Minister for Home Affairs: Mr Malusi K. N. Gigaba
Private Bag x 114, Pretoria, 0001

Chief of Staff: Ms Nokuthula Khumalo: nokuthula.khumalo@dha.gov.za
Personal Assistant: Ms Mpho Ndimande: mpho.ndimande@dha.gov.za

Director General: Home Affairs: Mr M Msimang
Private Bag x114, Pretoria, 0001

Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Claremont
7735
Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4481
E-mail: info@christianaction.org.za
Web: www.christianaction.org.za

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