Cape Town: Celebrities have a unique position to draw public attention to various issues says Samantha Majic, who studies human trafficking and sex work.
“They can shape how the public understands them and even influence relevant policy developments,” she said.
South African celebrities have been vocal on social media, demanding the government take action against human trafficking in the country.
Celebrities such as L’vovo, Lerato Kganyago, AKA, Boity, Pearl Shongwe, Thando Thabethe, Lasizwe, and Cassper Nyovest have been outspoken about this on their social media accounts, and even sharing information on how people can protect themselves from being trafficked.
“South Africa is considered to be on the “Tier 2 Watchlist” for human trafficking. Our government is not doing enough … Believe it or not, South Africa has officially become a source country for Human Trafficking and it’s getting worse,” wrote Kganyago.
The hashtag #EndHumanTraffickingInSA, dedicated to spreading awareness about human trafficking and their hotspots in various cities in the country, trended for over a month.
However, Tershia de Klerk, chief operations manager at Stop Trafficking of People (STOP), an organisation that focuses on preventative awareness of human trafficking in South Africa, told Global Citizen that although the hashtag raises awareness, it can cause fear and panic in people.
“Social media posts are often not accurate and we must be careful not to believe and, especially, share everything we see on social media,” she said.
Rapper Cassper Nyovest was the latest local celebrity to express his concern at the rate at which people go missing in South Africa.
In the tweet, he wrote:
“Guys no ways. So many people going missing and our President still hasn’t said anything? Like nothing? F****? Kana everyday it’s a new person I see on the timeline who went missing. I can only imagine what women feel like having to walk in these streets. YOH! #HumanTrafficking,”