The 24-year-old accused, Tshepo Ntsabeng, appeared before the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrate Court, where he was facing charges of human trafficking.

Ntsabeng was arrested by the Hawk’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation in Bethlehem on Wednesday, 14 April 2021 for crimes committed during November 2020.

Human trafficking in Sasolburg

The accused was reportedly involved in the disappearance of three teenage girls in Phuthaditjhaba. A preliminary investigation found that the teens were forced into prostitution in Sasolburg.

The charges against Ntsabeng originates from the incident which took place during November 2020 where three teenage girls were reported as missing in Phuthaditjhaba.

One of the teens assisted in the kidnapping of the other two. The 17-year-old was apprehended in December 2020, but Ntsabeng remained at large until Wednesday, 14 April 2021.

Ntsabeng will appear in court again on Thursday, 22 April 2021 for a formal bail application. More arrests are imminent as the investigation continues, according to Road Safety.

Human trafficking warning signs

Truck and Freight shared a list of warning signs since human trafficking is usually hidden in plain sight. Some indications that a person may be a victim of trafficking in person include:

  • Appearing malnourished
  • Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse
  • Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
  • Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
  • Seeming to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a person appearing to control where they go and which answers for them, not allowing them to speak for themselves
  • Lacking official identification documents
  • Appearing destitute/lacking personal possessions
  • Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment – barbed wire inside of a fence, bars covering the insides of windows
  • Not allowing people to go into public alone, or speak for themselves.

How victims of human trafficking are exploited

There are several ways in which victims of human trafficking are exploited, with the most common occurrence being sex trafficking. This includes anything from prostitution and stripping, to escort services and pornography.

People are also trafficked for non-commercial sex purposes, such as forced or arranged marriages or childbearing. Maternity trafficking is when victims are subjected to forced pregnancy with the intent to exploit or sell the child.

This goes hand-in-hand with illegal adoptions. People are also trafficked for non-sexual purposes, such as forced labour, child labour, organ and body part trafficking and forced begging and participation in criminal activities.

Now read: Three men accused of raping 17-year-old traced and apprehended

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Presh JM Reporter

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