AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
A South African teenager on sale for R40-million has been rescued by the police from a sex trafficking syndicate that involved members of her own family.
The 13 year-old girl’s step mother and grandmother were among trafficking syndicates who were arrested by members of The Hawks, SA’s elite crime busting unit, during a raid on a house in the Vaal.
The teenager has been taken to a place of safety and the step mother and grandmother are expected to appear in court today.
In addition to the arrests, the police confiscated R30 000 in cash and several electronic gadgets. Police believe that both the cash and the gadgets were used as part of the trafficking operation.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase, in a statement, said: “Two women were arrested for trafficking in persons, conspiracy to sell a minor for sexual exploitation, abduction and theft of a child. They were allegedly conspiring to sell the 13-year-old girl to a human trafficking syndicate for R40m.”
Nkwalase said the bust followed diligent work done by detectives from the Organised Crime and Serious Corruption, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units. More arrests are expected as police continue to follow up on information discovered during the arrests.
The crime shocked Major-General Ebrahim Kadwa, the Head of the Hawks in Gauteng. “What is disturbing with this situation is that family members were found to be involved in the alleged crime committed against their own,” he said.
Kadwa praised the breakthrough by the police. “We applaud the investigation team for executing the operation 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 allegations related to human trafficking .”