Breaking the Cycle of Vulnerability for Victims of Trafficking

A new report launched by IOM's Regional Office for Southern Africa
finds that trafficked women in Eastern and Southern Africa do not
receive the sexual, reproductive and mental health care they
desperately need.

The report "Breaking the Cycle of Vulnerability - responding to
the health needs of trafficked women in East and Southern Africa",
says that there are not enough trained counsellors to provide
adequate health care and support to victims and that organizations
active in the field of counter trafficking need to better address
their health and mental needs.  

According to the report, the trafficking process increases
women’s vulnerability to health-related problems including
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), HIV and post-traumatic
stress disorder, which, if not properly addressed, could lead to
chronic anxiety, self harm and suicide.

The report finds that the health service providers interviewed
for the study had little or no knowledge or understanding of
trafficking and therefore, could not respond adequately to the
needs of victims.

The report recommends training health service providers in the
region to identify and refer trafficked women to better respond to
their health needs. It also suggests that health is mainstreamed
into more traditional counter-trafficking responses in the region,
and that regional referral and information networks are

Trafficking from, to and through East and Southern Africa is
extremely varied and complex with, for example, Mozambican and
Asian women trafficked to South Africa for sexual exploitation and
Ethiopian women trafficked to the Middle East for domestic

The report, which was developed with the financial support of
the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), is
launched to coincide with South Africa's Human Trafficking
Awareness Week, which began yesterday.

Themed "Blow the Whistle", the week aims to raise awareness of
the growing issue of human trafficking in South Africa and
encourages members of the public to report suspected cases through
the IOM national toll-free helpline number: 0800 555 999.

The event, organised by South African marketing company
Diasporafric and IOM’s Southern African Counter Trafficking
Assistance Programme (SACTAP) has received the support of Metro FM,
SABC and the Daily Sun Newspaper.

The report can be downloaded from "paragraph-link-no-underline" href="" target=
"_blank" title=""> Hard copies are currently
available at IOM's Regional Office in Pretoria.

For further information, please contact:

Barbara Rijks

Tel.: +27 (0) 12 342 2789

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