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‘Good Samaritans’ purvey evil
This sickening story, related to a Salvation Army worker by a victim and ultimate survivor of human trafficking, proves that this abomination of mankind is flourishing in South Africa.
Suddenly, approaching Pretoria, their car cut out. Before they could even phone for help, help arrived! A bakkie pulled up with two very pleasant gentlemen who offered to check the problem. “Don’t worry,” they assured the girls when they were unsuccessful, “we can tow you to a garage and a mechanic can sort it out.”
Gratefully the friends jumped into the bakkie. When the scenery became unfamiliar Jenny thought they were heading away from the city. “Where are we going?” she asked the driver, starting to feel uneasy. “No problem,” he assured her. “We’re going to a friend who knows all about cars.
He’ll get it going – and for nothing!”
The day was still stifling so when the driver’s mate offered them each a bottle of water, they accepted thankfully. That was the last they knew until they woke up who knows how many hours later, in a gloomy and filthy room, shared by several other young women who appeared to be sleeping – or drugged.
“Dear God help us,” Jenny prayed as she realised that she and Fiona were in trouble. Their jewellery, cellphones and luggage were gone. Worse – Jenny had a terrible burning sensation around her vagina and buttocks, and there was fresh blood on the sordidly soiled sheets she was lying on. Her whole body ached. She also noticed needle marks on her inner thigh and top of one leg. It was then she realised she’d been drugged and raped – from both ends.
Jenny was so disorientated, she had no idea what day it was, let alone what time of day. She felt humiliated and scared. After a long while an aggressive woman entered the room and roughly took hold of Fiona. Jenny tried to prevent the woman from taking her friend away, then blacked out again. When she came to and asked after Fiona, she was ignored. At times the other young ladies were taken away for long periods. Jenny lost all track of time. Her life was one continuous nightmare punctuated by being ‘taken away’ and forced to clean the room.
Some of the other women were foreigners who couldn’t speak a word of English. Those who could confirmed with Jenny that when they were taken away, they too were forced to have sex with all sorts of strange males of all races. Some of these so-called ‘men’ liked to smack the girls around if they didn’t perform exactly as told.
Gradually Jenny realised she had to get out of this nightmare. She’d been repeatedly raped, physically attacked, pulled by her hair and suffered other abuse. She’d also lost a lot of weight. Jenny managed to get a cell phone from one of the other captives, but it cost her dearly! In exchange for using the phone she had to give up her meals. Nothing for nothing. But Jenny’s mood lifted. Surely this would bring salvation. Alas, the moment she held the phone her mind went blank – she couldn’t remember a single contact number!
It was over a year from being taken captive before Jenny and the others were rescued in a police raid. All Jenny remembers of the event is a great number of policemen bursting through
the doors and yelling “Get down! Get down”. She covered her ears in terror thinking this was the end of her.
She couldn’t immediately grasp that this was the end of her unspeakable degradation – of being a sex slave and punch-bag. After being rescued Jenny was taken to a hospital where she received counselling and was kept on drips and antibiotics until well enough to move. Then she was brought to us at The Salvation Army.
Jenny showed The Salvation Army worker the scars of her enslavement, the cut marks, bruises and other wounds inflicted over 14 months of terror. She admits that she cannot remember a lot of what she’d been through – and doesn’t want to. Although devastated by the fact that Fiona is still missing, this brave young woman is determined to be ‘whole’ again and is now reunited with a cousin.
“I’d been in tears through most of Jenny’s story,” says our carer, “and although totally overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of our chat, when she asked if I would pray with her, I gladly did. I’m horrified that human trafficking is right here, in our midst.”
Johannesburg: The Star, February 2, reported that a South Africa-based, international gang member had been arrested in Dhaka. His victim, a Bangladeshi man living in South Africa,
was abducted here and taken to Dhaka where ransom money was demanded from his family. They informed the CID who effected the gang leader’s arrest.
West Rand: A recently-released documentary exposes a high level of drug activity and human trafficking in Krugersdorp, right under the noses of the police! And where The Salvation
Army has a prominent influence, a Corps (church) and Goodwill Centre. This documentary will enable NGOs such as The Salvation Army to be more intense in our work in the town.
Bloemfontein: An 83-year-old great grandfather was arrested for raping a 9-year-old. He is still in custody, awaiting a court hearing. Since the court hearing was scheduled for last month (February), we should be able to ascertain the sentence.
The Law Reform Commission (1) is considering public participation in the Suppression of Witchcraft Act. This will help us to deal with crimes such as human trafficking for muti (traditional medicine) purposes and the idea of Juju being used to hold people captive in a trafficking situation. Juju (or Ju-ju) are articles used as ‘charms’ in certain indigenous African ‘religious’ practices (usually West Africa) to cast a spell on a woman before she is trafficked into Europe for a life of prostitution. The term travelled to the US through the slave trade. In West Africa there is also a Juju bean which is poisonous and grows on a wild, tree-dwelling vine.
The Commission is also looking at a new Act which will ban child marriages. Again this will help us when we teach that Ukatawala is a crime of human trafficking. This is the horrendous
indigenous South African practice of abducting young girls and forcing them into marriage, frequently with old men and often with their parents’ consent. Often the girls are under-age –
sometimes just little children as young as eight! Originally confined to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, sadly the practice has spread.
Each of these incidents serves to remind us that the battle is far from over. We are constantly called on to storm the forts of darkness and bring them down!
ABUSED WOMEN HELP FIRE VICTIMS
At 8.00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 the night was still smouldering at the end of another scorching day on one of the latest heatwaves Gauteng was then suffering. In just a few more minutes those residing in a building on the property of the old Leprosy Hospital in Westford were to experience an even greater, life-threatening heat as their homes became a single blazing inferno!
The stunned victims gather outside the charred remains of what was once their homes.
At this late hour, Solomon Mokonyani*, desperate to supplement his meagre income, was still repairing a petrol lawnmower when a candle he was using
fell over and ignited the petrol. Almost instantly the very old and very dry wooden beams and pillars in the ancient structure went up in flames.
First priority was to get everyone to safety – 22 adults and 8 children from the 10 families living there. While the fire brigade saved part of the severely damaged building, the residents lost
Realising their desperate predicament, the victims turned to The Salvation Army for help. We are some half hour’s drive from Westford, which is next to Danville, Pretoria. Early the next morning there was a knock at our church (Corps) door and there were two exhausted gentlemen beseeching our assistance.
Close to our church is Beth Shan, a shelter for abused and trafficked women The name Beth Shan means ‘house of quiet’ but when those being cared for heard of the disaster, it became a house of frantic activity as many volunteered their help. It was a blessing to see our own recovering victims work alongside the corps, getting together survival essentials for the fire-affected families – things like soap, toothpaste and tooth brushes, dinner bowls, mugs, spoons, blankets and clothing.
We also arranged to provide a meal a day, per person, every day for a week, until February 7. In addition we provided letters to all the relevant bodies, giving all the necessary information to facilitate the replacement of birth certificates, ID books, driver’s licences, SASSA cards (for child grants), clinic cards, school uniforms and books.
We thank God no one was seriously injured in the fire and pray for his beneficence for what the families lost.
*Not his real name
You’ve worked hard your entire life to achieve your goals and saved up for a rainy day. You’ve also lived respectfully, joyfully, abiding by the principles learned from your family, friends, church elders, or simply listening to God.
Living a good life is a dream – and a blessing. But have you ever thought what will happen after you’ve gone?
Naturally your family and loved ones must be given priority so they can continue to live the good life you’ve provided for them. Have you considered what legacy you’ll leave behind – how you’ll be remembered for your good deeds?
A bequest to a worthy organisation such as The Salvation Army, arranged as part of your last will and testament, can make a signifi cant and lasting
impact on the lives of some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our country. It’s a legacy that will live on, helping others to live a better life.
Some who’ve left substantial bequests have had a Salvation Army Centre named after them, and many other are perpetually remembered in the bronze
plaques that graced the walls of our homes. Others have just quietly given, content that those who were important to them knew of their deeds.
After 150 years, The Salvation Army is still doing what it is best at – giving a hand up to children, women and men of all societies who need it most – abused women and children, the mentally disadvantaged, the old and abandoned. We provide meals, blankets and clothing to thousands of homeless people. In addition to our many programs across the country, we run two hospitals and mobile clinics and our family tracing centre leads to family members being re-united, sometimes after years of separation. We’re heavily involved in anti human traffi cking, helping addicts kick the habit, educating youngsters, training adults with skills to earn. The list goes on.
We intend to provide these services for the next 150 years and more. A bequest to The Salvation Army will help us to achieve this goal.
Should you choose to include us in your will, all communication will be in strict confidence. You can speak to our legacy officer Major Jeff Stafford on 011 718 6708, your lawyer or financial adviser about your last wishes. If you have already included The Salvation Army in your will, we thank you sincerely and gratefully. May God bless you.
SEEN FROM HERE
While times are tough globally, South Africa’s financial situation is dire, with our credit rating now on the brink of ‘junk’ status – possibly the worst it has been in peacetime since William Booth founded The Salvation Army 150 years ago. In our beloved country, the organisation is facing a monumental battle to survive, further hampered by a soaring cost of living.
Obviously the tightening economy is putting ever-increasing pressure on our resources, as it forces newly destitute people to seek our help. And today man-made scourges such as human trafficking (see our horrendous front page story) have become so widespread it takes massive amounts of money to fight it.
While The Salvation Army started out primarily to help the poor, today our offices in 126 countries have to respond to extraordinary human needs. This burning desire to serve humanity
comes from our Christian beliefs and our passion for putting those beliefs into action.
It is my privilege to see The Salvation Army in action throughout the country. I see lives changed for good as our workers focus on achieving our mission to care for people, transform lives and reform society. This is our business and we pledge to carry on through these hard times, with your support and trust.
Whatever form your support takes – donations, bequests, or goods – it helps us continue as a force for good throughout southern Africa. Only with your help can we continue to do God’s work in an area that so often seems abandoned.
Will you help us meet the cost of caring?
Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
Southern Africa Territory