Activist against human trafficking, Grizelda Grootboom, encourages UJ students to speak out

You can make a difference! No matter what happens in life – one always have choices. Heal and set an example for others to follow.

This was the overwhelming message by celebrated author and activist against human trafficking, Ms Grizelda Grootboom, when she, recently, boldly recounted her escape from prostitution and human tracking at a talk hosted by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Student Ethics and Judicial Services (SEJS), in partnership with the University’s Library and Information Centre.

Students sat in rapt attention as Ms Grootboom spoke about how life dramatically changed when she was raped at the age of nine. In a harrowing book, Exit!, Ms Grootboom gives a first-hand account of life as a child, the cycle of poverty, family abandonment, and human trafficking, followed by a life of prostitution and drug addiction.

She highlighted the importance of attitude at all times, to gain insight into the power of self-belief and highlighted the impact that freedom and responsibility have on making choices, no matter what happens in one’s life.

Also speaking at the talk, Mr Jameson Ngomane the Director of SEJS, UJ echoed Ms Grootboom’s message and pointed out that her account is also a story of hope, and a finding a way out of that life. “Ms Grootboom has set an example as she has turned life around and, now, works as an advocate for Embrace Dignity, an NGO that opposes commercial and sexual exploitation, and human trafficking,” said Mr Ngomane.

He also reaffirmed the University’s commitment on Zero Tolerance against Gender based violence, an initiative launched in partnership with the Kwanele-Enuf, a foundation that aims to eliminate rape and sexual violence in the South African population.

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