Last night I spoke to an anti-human trafficking initiative called Lucy International that can be found on the web at https://www.lucyint.org and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stoptraffickingSA. I volunteered my time and legal knowledge to assist Lucy. Doing some research before the meeting, I found 10 common law crimes habitually and repeatedly committed against the victims ranging from rape to murder and much more. South Africa, with its progressive Constitution, has no less than 17 Acts against human trafficking. That in itself means nothing - law, as you should know, is not an exact science and for the insane to begin with, all must be combined to be effective in court which makes it complicated. Human trafficking is thus a serious issue even if one of those forgotten crimes which no one seems to want to know about. Internationally, I found more than 30 Conventions and Protocols against human trafficking.
I don’t want to speak legalese, it is not for decent people, but the definition for human trafficking - I call it “white slavery” - is set out in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. This Protocol is known as the “Palermo Protocol” or “Trafficking Protocol” and section 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol states “Trafficking in Persons (TIP) shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of office or of a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labouror services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, services or the removal of organs.”
As you may gather this is a very broad definition and what is interesting that no victim “consent” can be used as a legal defence. As much as you cannot agree / consent to be murdered, raped to be cured of whatever ails you – this happened with a witch doctor – or have underage sex, you cannot in law agree to be trafficked. Such consent is null and void and incorporated in all laws against the evil because evil is what it is, the most atrocious crime known to me. In South Africa, we have the Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013, as amended, as the primary weapon against the traffickers and yet that is not enough. The evil is growing unabated. I often say to you in my legal books that the law is neutral. It will not come alive and defend you, you have to invoke the law and abuse it, yes, abuse, to your own advantage. Otherwise, it stays a piece of paper without any known effect.
For a long time in South Africa, we had no Bill of Human Rights. We followed the UK’s Westminster System of Parliamentarian Sovereignty meaning that once a law is voted on in the prescribed manner, passed and signed by the main turd – president for you – then it is the law and since no law is ever promulgated to be without effect, it will be enforced. In my biography, the Mean Streets Books, based on my experiences as a policeman between 1985-1991, I often described how this system led to serious political abuse. Fundamentally, any law could and was promulgated, nothing held the turd brigade – politicians, they float in what they talk – back, except their consciences of which they had none to begin with. I used the examples as warnings on what happens when a highly disciplined, trained, and effective, I dare say, Police Force are told to enforce laws that are inherently wrong, they go out and do what is necessary. Some called me a “kafferboetie” and others “a racist” for the statements based on facts and law. You may deduct then that man cannot be trusted to do the “right thing” and thus the law is there for your protection, none so much as the Bill of Human Rights. And although the Bill of Human Rights is needed and I fully support it, when taken too far it has unintended consequences. I had to smile wryly when I read the below, taken from a UNESCO paper, on why South Africa became a hub for human trafficking:
“The repressive sexual ideology of the apartheid years, that sanctified heterosexual relationships within marriage, stigmatized prostitution and confined all sexual encounters within its rigid racist boundaries, has changed dramatically. Since 1994 the strict sexual mores and conservatism have relaxed under one of the world’s most progressive Constitutions, that guarantees protection from discrimination on the basis of gender and of sexual orientation. Homosexuality, taboo and criminalized under the apartheid dispensation, has crossed racial boundaries and is legally protected. Cape Town has emerged as a centre for cruising in bars, discos and saunas, with homosexual sex reputed to be available for the price of a mobile phone, food, cars and the chance of a better life. Whatever the truth about conditions of relative wealth and poverty that lie behind South Africa’s image, it is the image that counts. Along with the migrant populations come the attendant exploiters to capitalize on their vulnerability, ready to satisfy the demands of the diverse and complex ‘rainbow’ society – which may well be turning South Africa into the ‘hub’ of human trafficking.”
However that may be, this is a serious issue. I ask, with all the laws, why is it that Lucy gave me startling facts that you are welcome to check: “Human Trafficking, also known as modern slavery, is the fastest growing crime in the world. Globally, around 43 million adults and children are being kept in slavery. These staggering statistics of enslavement translate into what would be almost 90% of South Africa's population. The predators behind modern slavery are showing a profit of about $32 billion every year, which is almost half of Bill Gates net worth. Sex slavery victims are estimated to be at the average age of 11, with the business of human trafficking still operating, without conscience, all over the world. In South Africa, a child goes missing every five hours, with only one in every 4 children ever being found again.”
I have no words, this is shocking because that means that your kids, grandkids, and mine, are in danger, serious danger. Do you know what the biggest problem is in keeping them safe? UNESCO identified the number one risk for us and Lucy agrees: “While there is increased international attention to the problem of trafficking and governments, including South Africa, together with an array of stakeholders are providing information, publicity campaigns and training, the level of awareness in the population remains low. The common belief that “it cannot happen to me” apparently remains strong despite local familiarity with cross-border and internal trafficking. The offers of employment for young women, the offers to locate young children in better circumstances are generally accepted at face value (see IOM 2003). Acquaintance with trafficking recruiters, who may well be neighbours or family, further reduces the acknowledgement of the trafficking risk.”
In other words, awareness is low, people just don’t know and cannot believe they are at risk because this happens in other places with other people. It is not, listen to me, this is happening right here where you are. Contact people like Lucy for more details. Find out more, do something. Spread the word, stop being passive and uncaring. You know who is abused around you, you know your community or should, raise the alarm.
The security industry is one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa, keeping pace with the tourism sector and it is needed. The released crime statistics make for horrendously bad reading and do not need to be repeated here but if the same amount of murders should take place in a country with the population of America, you look at 117,000 plus murders a year in that place. Everyone of them is one too many, end of story, end of excuses. It is not normal, such statistics would lead to a public outcry and resignations from the politicians carrying the burden of responsibility via the offices they swore to uphold in other countries. Sadly, such honourable behaviour will never happen in South Africa and have never happened in the past either. Politicians just don’t care, make peace, he is only there for the money and status, not to work for the better of mankind. And it is not only that mass murders take place in South Africa, 18,000 a year if not more, one every 30 minutes, but the sheer amount of brutality and violence involved in the murders, hijackings, house invasions that make the violent crime unique in the world. Nowhere else in the world do we find the same violence except in war-ravaged countries and then not even. Then there is torture. It is virtually assured that torture from the burning of the victims’ flesh with hot irons to much worse will happen during any home invasion. Whatever you may imagine, rape included will happen and happens regularly, daily. As said, the statistics make for dreadful reading, but it is of no use to ignore a threat and hope for the best.
The legal system has failed and so did the South African Police Service for reasons discussed inside the book. You are on your own. Consequently, your security is in your hands and you must be preventative or fail. Most of the security and safety measures to be taken and advised in Safety Net are to be done long before any violent attack takes place, and nothing works in isolation, you need to many defensive layers and plan for the worst-case scenarios. We studied past criminal acts in this book, we look at how the criminals operate, and we advise how to counter them in the future as well as other threat which you may not even know about. Safety Net exposes which popular security measures are not effective as stated by the armed robbers themselves, and yet sold to the public by overeager salesmen. This is probably the most serious problem we have right now, a completely false sense of security. You are sold a basic alarm system coupled to an armed response team, the same in law as a cell phone contract, and think that you are safe... according to the robbers themselves you are not, they do not fear either an alarm nor armed response that much and they know how to overcome both. They fear CCTV if recording online, a dog inside the house and quite a few other measures that you can invest in but mostly it starts with training to be aware and to make life easier for the responders be it the police or armed response or medical. Something as simple as ensuring that your house is clearly marked by a street number may save your life. From my own police experience, I know how hard and frustrating it is to be unable to find the correct street address because the number is hidden behind a bush or just not there. Seconds count when you are bleeding, remember that, if you cannot be found, you cannot be rescued.
Safety Net deals with layered defensive systems and much more, also the JKLS System of self-defence perfected by the author. The JKLS System is proven to have saved souls across the globe and one that costs no money to implement, it is simple and thus highly effective. This book will change the way you look at your security for the better and not only in South Africa, whatever is said here will work anywhere else as well. Safety Net is based on personal as well as many years of police and criminal justice experience. A book that must be read by home and business owners anxious about the safety of their families and workers from violent criminal attack.
I never expected the reaction that I got on these books. When I started typing the first Mean Streets Book in 2012 I did so to leave a story behind, to tell the truth as I saw and experienced it. The time was right for me, I left the Police force 21 years previously, I learned and grow since then, and I could look back dispassionately or so I thought, I was wrong. The more I wrote the more I realised the lies, the untruths, half truths and the utter nonsense since then. The problem was that if something is not challenge, in law, it stands and so history is rewritten. Through the years, since Apartheid ended officially in 1994, a lot was written about the South African Police Force (SAP), the country’s National Police Force. Not all of the books were true to facts and many with a clear left-wing liberal political motive behind them. Many “anti” books were published, especially by the mainstream publishing houses and although they have a function and fulfilled a financial need, the Mean Streets Series is not like that. This is a story of a man, a junior officer that grew up in Apartheid South Africa and joined the Police at age 18 with the specific purpose to serve, to hunt criminals and terrorists and to kill them if needs be. He would go on to become an attorney at one of the most famous human rights law firms in Africa. A mesmerizing story. For those that were not members of the SAP between 1985 – 1991, and most were not, this is the closest you will ever get to see the world from the policemen’s viewpoint: “Makes the world of a policeman come to life. Brilliant expose of what it really feels like to have been part of the SAP during the years of apartheid. The author is painstakingly honest about his emotions and experiences during that time. A must read...” is one reviewer’s remarks. “Outstanding book, 1 of 3 on the SAP by this author... Genuine honest look from the inside by one who was there, did that, got the T-shirt and all the rest” said another. “These books provide an entertaining glimpse into not only the world of Law Enforcement but also into a department which has been under media attack for decades. Of course Apartheid was a terrible and racist system, and the police enforced those very laws, but the author does an excellent job in explaining the reasons behind this in a clear and concise manner. If you try to understand ANYTHING from the police point of view, the author's reasoning will answer some tough questions. The series is informative, funny, entertaining and a series I enjoyed reading...” wrote a former NYPD officer.
The various Mean Streets Books were read by many, criticized by some and loved by a lot more as an eyeopener to that closed world. The South African Police Force had almost nothing in common with a Sheriff's Department or the “Bobby on the Beat” – think Marines with police powers and you are closer to the truth. The highly-trained policemen were fighting terrorists as mechanized infantry besides dealing with “normal” crime in between. The statistics show that most of the terrorists were killed by the South African Police Force, not the Army, during South Africa’s Border War. 98% of all terrorists inside South Africa died by police bullets. The Police likewise had a decade more experience in counterinsurgency, learning their trade during the Rhodesian Bush War. Their daily duties involved dealing with vicious and brutal crime, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and full-scale riots, depending on where they were. The Mean Streets Book Series is a warning. The books will show you what happens when unscrupulous politicians gain control of a highly-disciplined Police Force and there is no “Bill of Human Rights” to stop them from implementing the country’s laws. No matter how unfair the laws may be or no matter what opposition is faced, these police officers will not turn a blind eye or walk away. They will react in kind every time and violently if provoked or not. They were feared with good reason - they were brutally effective and true to their traditions. Yet they also showed kindness and saved life at times. The Series is an account of the author's basic training and six-year career in the South African Police Force between 1985-1991, the years before Mr Nelson Mandela was released and the changes came. It is not merely a police biography but an intense look at how an honourable Police Force became an “Instrument of Terror” mostly because of politics way above the policemen’s pay grade. Funny, and insightful with much history and background explanations. Everyone that reads the Mean Streets Books take something away. At times you laugh, at times you cry, and sporadically you shake your head, absolutely worth reading according by most.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in hostage survival training and reducing legal risk in Sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters. Koos is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.