When a man offers you and a friend an all expenses paid holiday to a far away place, you may think you’d be crazy not to say yes. Sasha*, a beautiful young women, met Steven* while he was on holiday in her city. Steven seemed like a great guy- not only did he speak her language, but was filled with many stories about his home country. After spending a few days with Steven, he invited Sasha to come and visit him at his home in South Africa, and said that she could bring her friend Tina along- all expenses paid. Sasha was blown away with Stephen’s generosity and could not stop thanking him.
She was incredibly excited, as this was the first time she was ever going to be leaving her country’s borders. Her and Tina got onto the plane- ready for their month-long adventure on the opposite side of the world. Not only were they going to be able to see incredible places- but to spend time with Steven and his friends- a dream for any woman come true.
When arriving in South Africa, Sasha and Tina were immediately met by immigration and our LJSA staff and taken for an interview. Why would a man who has just met you pay so much money to take you on holiday?” the LJSA team asked- clearly sceptical about Steven’s intentions. Sasha and Tina could not give an answer besides that “he is just such a nice guy”. Steven had told the girls to delete all of the conversations they had with him. The team phoned Steven – who told a completely different story of how he had met the girls, and refused to give any more information that could verify what their holiday would look like. He then put down the phone and turned it off- a clear indication that something was indeed wrong.
The girls were being trafficked and both immigration and the LJSA staff knew it. The girls were heart broken – as their holiday dreams had abruptly come to an end- not fully realising the horrors of trafficking that they were being saved from. Immigration sent them safely back to home after LJSA was able to explain to them what would have happed if they were to have continued on into South Africa- debt bondage, abuse, and sexual slavery.
*Not the real names