Reigning Miss South Africa Teen Celeste Khumalo was recently named the official ambassador for the Child Trace Initiative, a non-profit organisation formed in 2010 that aims to combat the child trafficking problem in South Africa.
Khumalo joins celebrities like Matthew and Sonia Booth, Joan Ramagoshi, former Miss SA Teen Mikaela Oosthuizen and former Miss Junior South Africa Danmari Bouwer who have pledged their support and their assistance in the fight against child trafficking.
She said: “I was invited to the I Can’t Be Bought campaign by a Child Trace representative.
“After hearing about the atrocities of child trafficking I realised the awareness doesn’t really have a voice.
“I saw this as an opportunity to lend a hand and my platform as Miss South Africa Teen, to help boost awareness. I was then asked to become an ambassador.
“In reality, there are many young teenagers, boys and girls, who are looking for opportunities to better their lifestyles – myself included – travelling, modelling, making money and so on. But unfortunately they fall into the wrong situations in pursuit of these, or are lured by criminals or even sold by friends or family members.
“As an ambassador I will help spread the Child Identification initiative, engage and promote volunteer programmes and activations and also come up with ways of reaching out further.
“I’m ecstatic about this new role, because I have heard of incidents in which friends and acquaintances have gone missing or have been approached by ‘scouts’ to model overseas.
“If enough people register themselves, at least if an unfortunate situation arises where an individual is kidnapped or goes missing and is then found, they will be able to be returned to their parents or guardians safely and as soon as possible.”
Child Trace Initiative has developed iris recognition technology, which will assist in positively identifying children under the ages of 16.