File photo: Pexels
Cape Town – A 74-year-old man has been fined R10 000, or 24 months' imprisonment, for recruiting three victims into forced labour.

The Hawks on Monday said Cosian Hendriks was arrested along with a tavern owner in Athlone in July last year by the Serious Organised Investigation team following the rescue of three young men aged from 21 to 22.

The three were recruited and trafficked from Colesburg to Cape Town, the Hawks said, with a promise of employment.

The victims were allegedly picked up by a taxi driver from their respective homes in the Northern Cape.

“On arrival in Athlone, they were dropped off with Hendriks who sold them off to a businessman and the tavern owner in Athlone.

“The three victims were forced into hard labour and stayed in crude and unhealthy accommodation.

“Their pleas to be returned home a day after their arrival were met with resistance as they were told to first pay back the costs incurred. The matter was reported to the Athlone police, when the father of one victim heard about their plight.

“The initial human trafficking charge against the suspects was converted to one of contravention of the Employment Services Act 4 of 2014. Consequently, the tavern owner was released as the victims were saved before they could be exploited,” Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalase said.

Hendriks was fined by the Wynberg Regional Court to R10 000 with an alternative 24 months' imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years.

Cape Times