SIHMA Johannesburg Legal Clinic year end activities
On the photo: Father Eduardo welcoming the older group of children to the workshop.
The SIHMA Johannesburg Legal Clinic had a busy week of activities just in time for year end. The office rounded off the year’s activities with at two-day informal training session which involved discussions on human trafficking and another fun-filled day of activities which empowered young people with knowledge on Gender-based violence and human-trafficking.
The in-staff Training
On the 8th and 9th of December 2021, the legal office hosted a two-day in-staff online human trafficking training for the SIHMA Johannesburg and Cape Town staff, which saw the four new volunteers from Italy and Spain taking part.
The first day of the training involved a comprehensive discussion on the concept of human trafficking by the office’s legal adviser, where human trafficking was differentiated from smuggling and a detailed account was given on how human trafficking works and all its elements. The first day of the training concluded with discussions on the responses to the challenges of human trafficking.
The second day of the training was presented by a human trafficking expert who firstly introduced the different role players involved in counter human trafficking and walked the participants through the Standard Operating Procedures, highlighting the differentiated approaches to the care and management of child and adult victims and rounded off the training with the legislative aspects of counter human trafficking.
It is envisioned that the human trafficking knowledge gained by the SIHMA staff in the training will be crucial in their day-to-day activities as they interact with migrants and the vulnerable in all their working activities, where they will be able to identify, handle and know where to refer potential human trafficking cases.
Gender-based violence and Human Trafficking Workshop
The 10th of December 2021 marked the end of the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence but it seems with all the mainstream and social media attention, the effectiveness of the struggle against Gender-Based Violence is being lost, as the numbers of GBV and human trafficking cases are increasing. Perhaps governments, policy makers, civil society and the general community needs to reconsider the reactionary approaches to countering Gender-based violence, by focusing on its root causes.
On 11th of December 2021, the SIHMA Johannesburg Legal office collaborated with the SIHMA Johannesburg Health Centre, the SIHMA Legal Clinic and the St Patrick Catholic Church Catechism Classes to host a workshop of activities for young people to sensitize them to Gender-Based Violence issues. In the workshop the Legal Clinic additionally incorporated counter human trafficking in the activities as human trafficking “is one of the worst forms of GBV” . The workshop targeted young people who, although sometimes not prioritized enough in mainstream and social media, are sadly also significantly impacted by GBV and human trafficking as they are innocently living in a harsh world with so much violence around them and may be or become current victims. They may also be powerless in communities where “violence…is expected or even accepted” , and thus subconsciously find themselves being potential future victims or even perpetrators. It was on the basis of this need to incorporate young people in the Gender-Based Violence dialogue and to conscientize them to issues of violence and human trafficking that the SIHMA Johannesburg offices held these educational activities.
The activities involved grouping young people into age groups and the legal clinic staff had the pleasure of engaging the 14-17 year-old group. This age group was divided into two groups who had discussions on Gender-Based Violence and human trafficking, where fun activities based on the two topics were discussed. The activities encouraged them to work together in discussions related to practical societal issues like socially constructed gender roles, the different types of violence, the basic concept of human trafficking.
The participants were a very interactive group who showed some knowledge on Gender-based violence but minimal knowledge on human trafficking and in the last segment, were intrigued to learn how easily they could be trafficked after the presenter made up a hypothetical scenario based on an opportunity for them to study or work abroad with their organisation and many of the participants showed an interest in the opportunity.
The activities and discussions in the workshop thus introduced the participants to their own vulnerability in the context of GBV and human trafficking, something that most had not been aware of but left the workshop empowered with.
The events ended the year on a very high note for the new SIHMA Johannesburg Legal office, with the last few activities empowering both the legal Johannesburg office team, partners and the community participants. As the new year approaches, it is anticipated that the Johannesburg SIHMA Legal Office will host many more events in their quest to sustainably bring a change the lives of many.
by the Johannersburg Legal Clinic team