Police have said that the incident, in which a man tried to grab a four-year-old girl from a pizza shop in Florida Johannesburg last week, was not a case of human trafficking.

Police said the incident that occurred on 10 September 2020 is, however, a stark reminder of the realities of these crimes. The 24-year-old man was arrested following the incident and appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning. 

Following recent posts on social media, the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) General Khehla John Sitole has highlighted the seriousness with which human trafficking and other closely related crimes are being dealt with by the SAPS, as well as, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.

FLORIDA KIDNAPPING INCIDENT NOT A CASE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING 

While the suspect was charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, police said the incident in Florida was not a case of human trafficking. 

“This has been a reminder to both the authorities as well as every inhabitant of this country of the level of vigilance we need to employ to ensure that people are and feel safe,” said Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo. 

“Even though human trafficking is not prevalent in South Africa as it is in other parts of the world we must adopt a collective approach ensuring that not a single person, man, woman or child becomes a victim of this crime. We have had sporadic reports in the past of young people, especially females, that were allegedly lured away from their homes on the promise of lucrative jobs only to find themselves being trafficked for sex,” he added. 

WATCH: MAN TRIES TO TAKE FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRL

Warning: The content contained within this video features graphic imagery of a violent nature which some readers may find disturbing.

ABDUCTIONS ARE AREAS OF SERIOUS CONCERN 

Naidoo said cases of kidnappings, abductions and missing persons are also areas of serious concern to the South African Police Service. 

“The SAPS together with other government departments have put both proactive and reactive interventions in place to decisively deal with such cases. Each of these crimes [is] committed under different circumstances and with different motivations,” said Naidoo. 

Whatever the circumstances, an incident of that nature must be reported immediately to the police and there is no waiting period for such a matter to get reported.

The seriousness at which these crimes are being attended to is also highlighted by the fact that they are either investigated by specialised units like the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) or the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS).

“We are appealing to anyone who may have information on these crime categories, preferably before they are committed, to contact the SAPS on our Crime Stop number 086- 00-10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPS App, an application which can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android,” said Naidoo.  

All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous. 

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Presh JM Reporter

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