22 April 2010
I must draw attention to the impact that Human Trafficking is having on the crime situation in our municipality, particularly in Central and North End. It must be born in mind that there is much money to be made from refugees seeking refuge in South Africa. To put it briefly, all documents pertaining to the refugees are removed by the so called “Agent”, including any financial and other belongings. The “agent” then has total control over the individual who is now forced to turn to crime in order to meet his or her living costs and “agents” fees. It must also be born in mind that in many of these cases of human trafficking, the refugee is enticed to come to this country under false pretences. At present we are experiencing a huge influx of refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The Home Affairs Offices would appear to be understaffed and unable to cope with this influx. Mandela Bay is seen to be a soft touch as it is easier to get permits in the Bay, they skip Durban and Johannesburg and come here. Marriages of convenience are common where refugees marry township ladies, when the papers come through they may leave the country with a South African passport when and if they like, leaving behind a wife more often than not with children!
What’s the solution to this ongoing problem? Firstly, Control Immigration Officers must be better paid, Customs Officers earn nearly double and as a result there are very few corruption problems in customs and furthermore they get incentive bonuses. Stricter entry requirements must be introduced, plus minus three million refugees in South Africa are Asylum Refugees, the reasons for seeking asylum should be investigated, one million are illegal refugees.
One must bear in mind that plus minus five million refugees impact very negatively on the employment market of our own people.
Finally, I must point out that to a large extent Home Affairs have their hands tied as they are forced to release refugees, particularly from Somalia on grounds of victimisation and instructions from the Human Rights Commission.
Refugees from countries where there is war or other problems may not be returned to their country of origin, this aspect should be better investigated and stricter entry requirements enforced.
Human trafficking should be taken out of the political arena and be treated as a very serious problem. We must think positively and act against this abuse that leads to prostitution, drug addiction and crime in general.
With the advent of the World Cup many of the visitors to this country will feed on the product of human trafficking with glee creating a demand as never experienced before!
CLLR JEREMY DAVIS