An inability to identify child trafficking victims exacerbates the problem. Most people cannot tell whether a child or woman has been trafficked as traffickers provide continuous surveillance to ensure that nobody but a client goes near victims.
This is according to Gyan Dwarika, a manager of social work policy on child exploitation at the Department of Social Development. According to Dwarika, traffickers are very controlling of their victims’ lives, and instruct victims not to share information with anybody.
“The other trick is that they buy their victims everything they need. But the victim then finds that they will have to sell themselves to pay the trafficker back.
“They control these children. But there are ways the public can identify victims of trafficking.
“For example, what would you think if you saw a child on the streets at night?” she asked.
“Sometimes you see a group of boys washing cars and you have to ask yourself 'Who are they working for?'
“Traffickers are very smart, they often take their victims to expensive hotels, making it appear as if they are a couple, only to present the victim to their clients later.
“You should also be worried when you see a dirty child distributing flyers in the streets. Actually, you should ask yourself, 'Why is the child dirty, where are they living and whom are they living with?”
“Also, if an employer is withholding a person's identity documents or their passports, then there is something fishy there.
“Some would be living at the workplace with their employers. And some are involved in crime or are used by adults to commit crime,” she said.
She urged that anyone who suspects that a child or a woman is a victim of trafficking to report the matter immediately to the police.
“It’s so sad that the traffickers promise these children a lavish life, when the reality is they are forced onto the streets to prostitute themselves," she said..
A 2008 Unicef report taken from US government data shows almost a million people are trafficked across international borders every year. Eighty percent of them are women and girls, and 20 percent are children.