Five women, believed to be from Thailand, were detained when the police raided a suspected brothel in Morningside, Durban, on Tuesday.
A police source said the police were now searching for the owner of the Second Avenue house, who was suspected of being part of a human trafficking syndicate.
A man found in the house during the raid was believed to be a “client”, and was also taken away by the police.
When The Mercury arrived at the house, neighbours and bystanders had gathered to watch as the police inspected it and escorted the women to a police van.
The police source said the women were in the country illegally because they did not have Home Affairs permits.
“We are looking for the owner of the building because we believe this could involve a bigger human trafficking syndicate operating in the city,” said the source.
More arrests were expected.
Inside the house, small mattresses, blankets, clothing and condoms could be seen.
A group of residents at the scene commended the police for the bust. One woman said it had taken a long time for the police to act saying the suspected brothel had been there for years.
Prostitution is on the rise in Morningside… The police need to act sooner and our areas need to be cleared… It is a problem for residents because we stand at the bus stop with them (prostitutes) and people accuse us of being prostitutes as well,” she said.
The resident added that it was concerning that children had to walk past the place.
A police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker, declined to comment, saying information about the raid had been released to the media without authorisation.
“This is a sensitive matter due to the nature of the alleged offences and the uncertainty regarding the activities of the arrested persons,” he said.
In February, the Hawks and the police raided a building in Durban’s Point, rescuing 15 girls who were being used as prostitutes. Eight were under 16, with the youngest believed to be 12. Two were pregnant.
The police said the girls had been held against their will. - The Mercury