By T’soloane Mohlomi
MASERU – In commemoration of World Day Against Human Trafficking, which is celebrated every year on the 30th of July, Unsung recently launched a documentary film intended to address and combat the scourge of human trafficking.
Unsung Defending Human Rights and Dignity, is a collaborative effort between local artists and lawyers in a project with the aim of eradicating and addressing social ills in Lesotho, South Africa and the African continent at large.
Unsung has adopted human trafficking and xenophobia as immediate focus areas, and the campaign will see creative artists from a range of disciplines contributing their unique voices towards awareness campaigns, whilst legal practitioners will formulate effective legal strategies to combat these ever pressing issues.
Executively produced by local film maker Mr Tumelo Makutoane, the documentary reveals alarming statistics, and sheds a spotlight on the trafficking of people occurring mainly between Lesotho and South Africa. It sensitizes and highlights the urgency needed in addressing human trafficking issues.
Speaking at the Launch hosted at Cafe’ What on Sunday, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ms T’sepang T’sita Mosena, said she welcomed the initiative between legal practioners and artists who had collaborated in order to teach the nation on Human Trafficking, its dangers and how the scheming perpetrators go about executing it.
She said the documentary was very informative, as the incidents depicted in the film were very shocking, as to come to terms with the fact that some of the things they saw in the film actually occur in real life on a daily basis. She said showing how human trafficking works and where it emanates from was very important because a lot of people were unaware of such incidences, and the cunning tactics which are used to lure and deceive unsuspecting victims.
“I would like to laud this cooperation between artists and lawyers, where you have come together to ignite a passion in Basotho and sensitize us on these pressing issues of human trafficking. The documentary was indeed very interesting and informative. I think this project is honestly an assignment for us as well to say we must join hands and see what can be done to combat human trafficking,” she said.
“I openly vow before you that my part will definitely be played in this initiative. Being a very passionate gender activist, I think this talked to us, and also the space where I am as a deputy speaker of parliament says that I should play my part to influence members of the public to really gain an understanding of issues related to human trafficking and the impact it has on some of our developmental issues as a country.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament further added that the Parliament of Lesotho commits itself and will be engaged to work together in the fight against the Trafficking of people.
A lot of scenarios were depicted within the theme, and an emphasized fact was that most people trafficked from Lesotho ended up in South Africa. Most of these people come from the rural areas of Lesotho and are mostly people who are looking for jobs and opportunities in our neighbouring country.
These people (especially women) are usually promised offers which are either inflated or too good to be true, in a bid to lure them in, only for them to be trafficked and sold into schemes like prostitution rings where they are kept without their will and often work without pay.
In the film one depiction which stood out and is unfortunately a true story, is that of a young women who was trafficked from Lesotho, with the promise of a better job but was in fact drugged and sold into prostitution. The woman was rescued by a Mosotho national who discovered her in Johannesburg South Africa and quickly alerted authorities.
Unsung plan to go on a continental African Tour, starting from Cape Town, going all the way to Cairo, travelling across the Sahel region and heading back to Cape Town. Along the way they will be educating and spreading the word about human trafficking through film and art. In this initiative Unsung has already made propositions to Land Rover, Jaguar group in South Africa to assist them with vehicles for the tour.