Paballo in trafficking awareness campaign

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MASERU — Beauty queen Paballo Mokoqo will host a human trafficking awareness campaign on August 26 at Ster-Kinekor at the Pioneer Mall.

The campaign by the Face of Lesotho second princess through her foundation ‘Keep the Child Alive’ will be in form of a movie highlighting the evils of human trafficking.

The movie will be followed by presentations by officers from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service’s Child and Gender Unit and The Beautiful Dream Society, a youth non-governmental organisation advocating stronger efforts to eradicate human trafficking.

The event will run from 12:30 pm until 4 pm.

The 23-year-old beauty told the Weekender that the campaign is targeted at form C, D and E students.

“The invited students are the most vulnerable group as they easily fall prey to traffickers, Mokoqo said.

“We have invited students from ‘Mabathoana High School, Lesotho High School, St James High School, St Catherines High School and Advent Ville High School but the invitation is still open to everyone who is interested in learning more about human trafficking as it affects everyone regardless of age.”

Mokoqo said the idea to host the event came after she watched a movie on human trafficking that targeted aspiring models from small countries.

“After watching a movie which depicted the vulnerability of ambitious young people who are seeking opportunities, I realised I should pass the message on.

“I used to think human trafficking only affects overseas countries until I heard stories of Basotho victims and because I learned that I may not be the only one who takes this crime lightly I decided to organise the campaign,” she said.

“Keep the Child Alive is a foundation solely meant to help provide a sustainable and long term access to basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and education to orphans who lost their parents to HIV/Aids.

“These are children who are more vulnerable to traffickers’ manipulation and are often lured by fraudulent job offers.”

Mokoqo said the campaign is not only to raise awareness amongst students about human trafficking but “it is also intended to help raise funds for Keep the Child Alive foundation’s beneficiaries”.

All the money raised through this campaign would be used to help provide basic necessities such as food, clothing and school fees to orphans. This will help reduce their vulnerability to traffickers.

Human trafficking has been described as one of the world’s most reprehensible crimes, according to the United Nations.

Lesotho is considered a transit country for victims of human trafficking. Its weak economy and poor social welfare system make its people prey to human trafficking syndicates.

Most of the victims from Lesotho end up in South Africa where they are used as cheap labour and sex workers.

“Human trafficking is one of the fast growing crimes globally yet people are not aware of it so the campaign is meant to disseminate as much information about it as possible,” Mokoqo said.

“Tickets are being sold at M10 which includes a drink and popcorn, a bargain to attract as many attendees as possible.”

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