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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

National Human Trafficking Resource Line a victim-centred approach to combating crime
2017-08-24

Description: Beatri Kruger Tags: Beatri Kruger 

Prof Beatri Kruger, Adjunct Professor at the
UFS Faculty of Law. Photo: Supplied

As a response to the rising number of human trafficking cases in South Africa and around the world, key role players in various fields have pulled together to come up with workable solutions on how to stop the crime and assist victims. Some of the work being done by NGOs and law enforcement agencies has been supported by insights from research conducted in communities and by academic institutions. According to Prof Beatri Kruger, Adjunct Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State and experienced researcher in human trafficking, support for victims has grown in leaps and bounds with the help of the latest technology. More and better quality information can be collected to strengthen efforts of combating the crime,” she said.

One such technological development is the national Human Trafficking Resource Line, which provides various services, including information on trafficking activities, assistance to agencies working with victims of trafficking in persons (TIP), creating a network from which data can be collected, analysed, and activities tracked, in order to ensure the best service to victims.

The resource line connects callers, often victims of TIP or anonymous tippers, to service providers in social services, law enforcement, places of safety, medical facilities, and government agencies, especially during emergencies. 

Resource line a helping hand to victims

The resource line was established in 2016 and has replaced the previous helpline. This line provides more services and resources than just a helpline. Through partnerships, it works to strengthen local and national structures that can assist victims over the phone. 

Call specialists are trained by Polaris, an American company using international standards and protocols. The call specialists are available 24/7 to take reports of human trafficking confidentially and anonymously. They put victims in touch with service providers for health screening, counselling, and repatriation if they are from another country, and also assist with case management.

Empowering service providers is the key to success

Support for service providers such as NGOs, safe houses, and government departments in the network is in the form of skills training programmes for staff, and a referral system in various provinces around the country. There are good referral partners in each province, as well as provincial coordinators ensuring accountability regarding cases, mobilising services for victims, and coordinating the referrals and response.  

To strengthen the network further, services provided in each province are being standardised to ensure that the right people are contacted when handling cases, and that key stakeholders in each province are used. The strength of the provincial provider network is key to offering victims of human trafficking the services they need.

Human trafficking is a crime that permeates multiple academic disciplines and professions. Therefore, information collected from victims through such a helpline and collated by agencies, will assist academic institutions such as the UFS in furthering their research, while strengthening the content of academic programmes in fields such as law, law enforcement, social sciences, health sciences, and international relations.

The number to call for reporting or providing tips on TIP-related crimes and activities, is 0800 222 777.

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