Hawks rescue NC women from alleged sex trafficking ring
Kimberley - Three young women were rescued from falling victim to a suspected human trafficking ring, after a Kimberley woman was arrested by the Hawks for allegedly trying to recruit workers for sexual exploitation.
Hawks provincial spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi said the accused was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit and the Kimberley Flying squad at her place of residence on Tuesday.
“The accused is a South African citizen who is residing in Kimberley.”
Mnisi said the investigation team followed up on information regarding a female suspect who was allegedly involved in human trafficking on Samaria Road on Monday and Tuesday.
“The accused, Ester Palesa Moshoeshoe, 27, made a brief appearance in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of human trafficking for sexual exploitation.”
Mnisi stated that the women were allegedly taken from Barkly West and Kimberley.
“Three women between the ages of 17 and 22 were rescued.”
She added that the women were being kept at a place of safety.
“They will remain at the place of safety until the finalisation of the investigation. One woman is from Kimberley while the other two are from Barkly West.”
Mnisi indicated that the accused would appear for a formal bail hearing in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on December 24.
“The accused will remain in custody. The investigation continues.”
Mnisi added that the operation was part of an ongoing investigation into incidents of human trafficking in the Province.
Some sex workers who provide services to their clients along Samaria Road said they were desperate for work.
“There are a lot of young girls who come from Lesotho and outside the city in search of work here. We share the road and usually wait under the shade or under a tree, until a business opportunity arises.”
One worker said she had seen the Hawks driving up and down Samaria Road earlier in the week.
“I didn’t see the accused trying to recruit people. If I was approached for work, I might have agreed to have gone with the accused, if she had offered me employment. I don’t have a choice, I have to earn a living and work is scarce, but now I am afraid.”