Human trafficking: The life of drugs and prostitution - Grizelda Grootboom

The author of a book Exit, Grizelda Grootboom, speaks to CapeTalk's Africa Melane about an issue that is tormenting South Africa as well as the continent, human trafficking.

Grootboom relayed her life story, her time as a child living on the streets of Cape Town, being trafficked, used as a sex slave and a life of prostitution as well as drug addiction.

When she turned 18 she moved to Johannesburg because the shelter she grew up in could not take care of her anymore and she needed to fend for herself.

She recalls meeting a girl that she befriended and becoming very close.

I trusted her hoping that she is going to give me hope and an opportunity in Joburg so I took that opportunity and moved to Johannesburg.

Grizelda Grootboom, author of a book Exit

This person that she trusted wholeheartedly sold her out, she says.

She remembers being taken to a house where she thought she was going to find shelter and quit the streets but that's where her ordeal started.

I entered this house that had nothing, no bed or furniture. The last thing she said to me was that I am going to get food and I trusted her. I took a nap in this empty house and was woken up by a kick in the stomach.

Grizelda Grootboom, author of a book Exit

I was questioning in my head whether the house was getting robbed... I was injected with drugs and my body just became numb... I knew from there on that I am probably going to get killed.

Grizelda Grootboom, author of a book Exit

Listen below to hear more of Grizelda Grootboom life's story:

Africa Melane spoke to country manager at A-21, Katie Modrau and Nosipho Vidima, advocacy officer at the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT) to find out more about human trafficking in South Africa.

Modrau says the situation is far worse than we see in the media or shown in statistics.

The issue with human trafficking is that a lot of people don't self identify as victims.

Katie Modrau, country manager at A-21

Three things to look at to identify human trafficking:

  • How were you recruited and what are the terms and conditions
  • Do you have freedom of movement, can you leave at any time you want without fear?
  • Are you making the money yourself or is someone making money off of you?

According to Vidima, their organisation works closely with the Hawks and independent sex workers. She says they do get cases where women are forced to become sex slaves and they take them out of those situations.

She says they need more resources from government to be able to rescue more women.

What we want is an environment where we can reach out to a unit where we would say the government has helped us to remove ex workers from human traffickers.

Nosipho Vidima, advocacy officer at SWEAT

To hear more listen below:


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