Spokesperson Sihle Ngobese says they are in the process of finding a permanent home for her. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA Pictures

Cape Town - A five-year-old child, who was allegedly being abused by men who gave her food in return, has been placed in a place of safety.

The Department of Social Development on Tuesday said the matter has now been referred to the police for investigation.

A resident of Die Gatjie informal settlement in Diep River said the little girl was abandoned by her mother a few weeks ago.

After it emerged the child was being abused by men in the camp, the woman kept the child with her.

She said the child’s mother was a known prostitute in the area.

But she asked the Daily Voice for assistance as she could no longer care for the child in addition to her own two children.

The DSD then stepped in and rescued the child.

Spokesperson Sihle Ngobese says they are in the process of finding a permanent home for her.

“Social workers have requested the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations unit within SAPS to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse and exploitation,” he explained.

“Guided by the Children’s Act of 2005, the child has been placed in safe care, after our specialist Child Protection social workers applied to the Children’s Court for a court order.

“Our social workers will continue with their investigation into the circumstances of this case. This includes looking into the long-term placement of the child.”

He urged people to report any abandoned, abused, neglected or missing kids to cops or the DSD Hotline on 0800 220 250.