DURBAN - SOCIAL Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said yesterday that the four women who were rescued from an alleged human trafficking syndicate last week were safe.
The police said that the women were lured from Johannesburg to Durban with the promise of a job opportunity. According to police, they were told they would be working at a call centre, but instead they were held captive in a luxurious Durban North house when they arrived last week on Tuesday, and told they would be doing sex work.
One of the women managed to call for help, and the police, led by provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, led an operation that resulted in the women being rescued on Wednesday.
A case docket for human trafficking charges was opened and handed over to the Hawks for further investigation.
Khoza said that the young women were safe in the hands of the police and the Department of Social Development.
“The women fell into a trap by people masquerading as prospective employers to lure young women into their dirty and shady business operation. The young women, aged 17 to 19, were lured from Johannesburg to Durban with the promise of a lucrative job opportunity.”
Khoza said social workers were speaking with the women while the police were dealing with the investigation.
“Once those processes are completed, the women will be reunited with their families.”
The MEC praised the police for their swift response in ensuring that the young women were rescued.
“It is very painful to learn that criminals use the desperation of unsuspecting women to lure them from Johannesburg to Durban to be groomed as sex workers. However, our police officers quickly prevented that after receiving a tip-off.”
She added that the public needed to work with the government to stop human trafficking and the abuse of women and children in the province.
“Our country is regarded as a central hub for sex and human trafficking involving girls as young as 10 years old. However, we can change this by ensuring that all of us report any suspicious operations.”
A woman who is involved in the fight against human trafficking, who asked not to be named due to the nature of her work, said human trafficking was a problem and the public needed to be vigilant.
“Children are getting caught in human trafficking. We go to schools and are educating pupils and parents about the dangers of human trafficking.
“There are even dangers when posting pictures of children on social media with their school uniforms. When it comes to job interviews, thorough checks need to be conducted.
“It is dangerous to just go for an interview when you are not sure about the source of the job.”