Hawks rescue girl, 13, from stepmom and step-grandma who allegedly tried to sell her to traffickers for R40m
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Johannesburg - Two women, aged 36 and 57, were expected to appear in court on Thursday for allegedly trying to sell a 13-year-old girl to human traffickers for R40 million.
The women are the child’s stepmother and step-grandmother.
Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase, of the Gauteng Hawks said they received information from informants about the pair’s plan to sell the child.
“The investigation team followed up on suspicious human trafficking activities planned in the Heidelberg area, where a stepmother and step-grandmother allegedly conspired to sell their 13 year old stepdaughter to a human trafficking syndicate for R40m.”
Nkwalase said a multidisciplinary operation was put into place.
The team, he said, was made of the Hawks’ Serious Corruption and Organised Crime Investigation teams in Vaal Rand, Vanderbijlpark SAPS Task Team for serious and violent crimes as well as Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit in the Vaal Rand.
The sting operation was carried out on Wednesday.
“A waylay investigation was put in motion, and the joint police team seized the R30 000 entrapment cash and electronic gadgets for further investigation. The rescued minor was taken to a place of safety.”
Nkwalase said the two were charged with trafficking in persons, conspiracy to sell a minor for sexual exploitation, abduction and theft of a child. They were to appear at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court.
Hawks Gauteng head Major General Ebrahim Kadwa said it was disturbing that the family members were found to be involved “in the alleged crime committed against their own”.
“Setting up an operation of this magnitude shows bravery and we applaud the investigation team for executing it without anyone being harmed, and the child was rescued safely.
“In the past few months, we have made a major breakthrough in successfully dismantling illegal brothels in the Vaal Rand where police officers were arrested for human trafficking related allegations.” said Major General Kadwa.
Last week, a 42-year-old woman from the Easter Cape appeared in court for allegedly selling her 13-year-old daughter and her boyfriend’s 16-year-old niece to two Bangladeshi men, aged 34 and 36, for sex. The sold them over two years in order to buy drugs and alcohol.
The matter came to light when the 13-year-old girl, who has a mental condition, asked her friends to accompany her to a man she would have sex with in exchange for money. She allegedly promised to buy them sweets once she got the money.
The mother allegedly received R400 in exchange for the sexual encounters.