Human trafficking victims recovering well

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Feb 25, 2012

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Her face lit up as she described how much she was enjoying sleeping on a soft bed and enjoying three healthy meals a day.

That was one of the 15 victims who were rescued in a massive anti-human trafficking raid carried out by specialised police units in the Point area of Durban last week.

This week, the girls, all of whom are minors, were recovering at safe houses and receiving the necessary medical treatment and counselling.

The Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre (UCEC), the NGO which took over the care of the girls once they had been checked in hospital, confirmed all the girls are doing well.

UCEC is a member of the KZN HPPB (Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Pornography & Brothel) Provincial Task Team,

UCEC spokeswoman, Joy Conradie, said on Friday that they are working closely with the Department of Social Development with regard to the welfare of the victims, including two girls who are pregnant.

“The two pregnant victims have been placed in a safe house facility that is especially equipped to tend to their medical needs.

“There they will receive counselling (and) medical attention, as well as full rehabilitation.

“None of these girls chose this as the lifestyle they wanted,” said Conradie.

“All of them want to go back to school, study and earn a living in a decent and reputable way now that they have been rescued from this nightmare and given a second chance in life.”

This week saw desperate parents of missing girls flocking to the offices of Durban’s Organised Crime Unit, after police called on the public for help in identifying the rescued girls.

One of the girls has been identified and reunited with her family.

SAPS spokesman Lt Col Vincent Mdunge said many of the girls did not want to reveal their real names, as they felt it would be too humiliating to admit to their families what had been happening to them.

Meanwhile, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) has praised the NGOs involved with the task team, whose members often work long hours on the streets and has called on government to financially assist all NGOs involved in caring for the victims.

Four suspects who were arrested at the scene appeared for the second time in Durban Magistrate’s Regional Court on Friday morning, with charges being dropped against one of them.

The remaining three suspects, Sandile Zweni (37), Nonduzo Dlamini (23) and Babha Dubazani (29) appeared in court on a range of charges, including trafficking for sexual purposes, keeping a brothel and drug-dealing.

They are due to appear in court again on March 20 for a formal bail hearing. - Independent on Saturday

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