CAPE TOWN - Four alleged traffickers are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday, January 3, 2022, where they will be facing charges of contravening the Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013, which outlaws trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
On Friday, December 31, 2021, members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (the Hawks) Serious Organised Crime Investigation teams, assisted by the Tshwane K9 unit, arrested four alleged traffickers aged between 19 and 40 in Sunnyside, Pretoria.
According to Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase, the joint team responded to information received from the Human Trafficking Hotline about a 17-year-old victim who reportedly left home in March 2021.
“She was allegedly recruited from Hammanskaal by one of the suspects, kept against her will, forced into a life of drugs, and subjected to acts of sexual exploitation.
“A search and rescue operation was conducted on Friday, December 31, 2021 at the apartment in Sunnyside following an in-depth investigation.
“The child minor was successfully rescued along with another 25-year-old victim, and both were taken to a place of safety,” Nkwalase said.
He said two of the four suspects arrested are fugitives from justice who have been on the run since September 2019.
The two suspects are allegedly linked to another case of human trafficking where nine suspects were arrested. Their case is currently under way in the Pretoria High Court.
Provincial head of the Hawks Major-General Ebrahim Kadwa praised the joint team for the arrests and reiterated the significance of taking a multidisciplinary approach in the fight against crime.
“I urge the victims suffering in isolation and the members of the community that may witness this injustice to use the available emergency numbers in their quest for intervention,” Kadwa said.