By Mpho Shelile
MASERU – EDU GLOBE STUDY AGENCY together with the LMPS held a workshop at Pitso Ground on Friday, with the agenda of alerting students who are to study abroad, especially in India, of the challenges they are likely to encounter during their stay in the foreign land.
LMPS representative, under the faculty of Anti-Human Trafficking and Immigrants Control Office (AHTICO), Mrs. Ntsibane said human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, includes both forced labour and sex trafficking. It does not only represent a threat to international peace and security, but also undermines the rule of law, robs millions of their dignity and freedom as well as enrich transnational criminals.
“Human trafficking is a serious problem in Africa, it is a major region of origin for victims, who are trafficked into other parts of the world; such as Western Europe and the Middle East. A large number of those victimized in Africa are women and children, who are subsequently exploited in a variety of sectors such as agricultural and domestic work. 50% of victims of human trafficking are women and children”, said Ntsibane.
She stated that most people are trafficked for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labour, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage or the extraction of organs or tissues, including surrogacy and oval removal. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. It is a crime as it violates the victim’s right of movement through intimidation and commercial exploitation. She warned students to watch out for the red flags. She explained that sex trafficking is conducted for escort services, girls and women are promised a better life but are sold to the escort service owner to the highest bidder.
“Nobody can attend college with poor results, it is impossible for a person with only two passes to get into college in our country, then how are you to study in a foreign country with such results, or get a high paying job which you are not qualified for? Ntsibane inquired, clarifying that it takes a smart person to study that far.
She said the youth should be alert about whom they talk to and whom they listen to, because traffickers sell what they know one needs and loves, which is money. For that reason people get tricked with a promise for a better life which really never happens. “You can get lured in with fake jobs with no negative aspect. Forced into marriage or kidnapped, beaten and raped. So when you get to India remember why you are there. You are there to study and not to work, do not let anything shift your focus and get in the way of fulfilling your dream. Avoid engaging in illegal acts and refrain from usage of drugs”, she said.
She further addressed why trafficking does not include everyone, some of them are just illegal immigrants who went there voluntarily to earn a living. Some found themselves in this situations due to debt bondage. The victims are the most vulnerable- migrants trapped in debt bondage, and clubs or farm workers kept there by clearly illegal tactics and paid little or nothing.
“Anything can happen at any time, so I would encourage you to create relations with the people you are travelling with, when you arrive in India make sure to always travel in groups so to avoid being kidnapped. Do not act like you know it all, but become a family who depend on each other to stay safe. Make sure to always travel with someone”, advised Ntsibane. She urged parents to keep in touch with their children, at least once a week just to make sure that they are still okay.
On behalf of the travelling students Maliba Ts’osane expressed her appreciation to the LMPS for what they have taught them and promised they will abide by what they were told, and urged her fellow students to do the same.