Staff from LexisNexis South Africa (LNSA), provider of content and technology solutions for professionals, recently participated in the company's annual Cares Day initiative which saw their employees nationwide rolling up their sleeves to assist anti-human trafficking organisations.
For the last three years Cares Day has enabled the organisation to uplift and empower women and children who have been targets of human trafficking. The annual exercise is an extension of the company's programme of anti-trafficking initiatives which has included launching the country's first ever Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation Compendium, creating awareness among key customers and employees by hosting a panel discussion, and screening of the REDLIGHT and 'Not My Life' documentaries.
"Globally, LexisNexis is committed to actively advancing the rule of law, which is the concept that a functioning society needs an accessible, independent and transparent legal system and a set of laws that everyone, including the government, follows. Without this it becomes easy for the vulnerable or destitute to be affected by crimes such as human trafficking, hence our support of corporate citizenship initiatives that strengthen civil society," LNSA CEO Billy Last said.
Renovations to safe house
This year the Durban head office chose to support the Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre as its Cares Day beneficiary. This non-profit organisation provides care, counselling and rehabilitation to the marginalised, including victims of human trafficking, victims of domestic violence and abuse, and orphaned, abused, neglected or homeless children. The centre will benefit from renovations to its safe house to the value of R28,000, an additional R26,000 cash donation, as well as an assortment of essential items donated by LexisNexis' Durban staff members.
In Cape Town, employees spent their Cares Day at the Salvation Army in Athlone, carrying out refurbishment work such as painting and revamping the organisation's crisis centre to provide a more comfortable and safe space for those seeking refuge. In Johannesburg, employees participated in a Cares Drive to collect items for 300 care packs and donated these to The Cradle of Hope House of Restoration. This organisation provides a safe haven for abused and vulnerable women and children, as well as teenage girls.
Lack of knowledge
LexisNexis South Africa's human resources director, Vuyo Dwane, cited a recent study by the International Organisation for Migration in South Africa, which showed that 29% of all participants had no knowledge of the occurrence of human trafficking in their communities. "This is exactly why LexisNexis encourages staff members to get involved in these community upliftment projects. Not only do the local communities benefit, but our staff also feel a positive sense of camaraderie and insight after the day," she said.
To further build on its efforts to combat human trafficking, LexisNexis works closely with the South African Police Services, professionals within the South African justice system and various non-profit organisations to provide regulatory bodies with the necessary up-to-date information to try and tackle the scourge.
"Empowering these organisations enables them to make a difference to victims, which in turn benefits the wider community and helps to establish stable and self-sufficient societies," added Last.