The East London Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation team and King William’s Town’s K9 unit arrested three suspects on Wednesday, 26 May, for allegedly partaking in human trafficking.

MOTHER ARRESTED FOR SELLING DAUGHTER, TEENAGE BOY FOR SEX

The three suspects, two men and a woman, aged 32, 36 and 42, reportedly abused a 13-year-old girl, who suffers from Down syndrome, and a 15-year-old boy, according to South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

One of the suspects happens to be the mother of the teenage girl and she allegedly sold her daughter and the boy to two shop owners in Keiskamahoek for sexual exploitation, for three years, between February 2019 and March 2021.

The East London Hawks caught wind of the situation when it was reported to them and the trio were arrested following a probe.

The suspects are expected to appear in the Keiskamahoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 28 May, on charges of trafficking in persons.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN SOUTH AFRICA

Human trafficking is a global crime trend, which sees children, women and men exploited and abused for their bodies. There are approximately 40.3 million people enslaved across the world today, according to A21 – a non-profit organisation that is determined to put an end to the practice.

Human trafficking has been a criminal offence since August 2015, according to SAPS, when The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act was enacted. “Since trafficking in persons is often a crime that is hidden in plain sight, it is important to be aware of its warning signs,” said SAPS.

These warning signs include malnourishment, signs of physical abuse, avoiding eye contact and social interaction, as well as if there appears to be a person that controls the victim’s movement and does not allow them to speak for themselves.

People are trafficked in many different ways, such as false job advertisements, abduction, false immigration or being sold by family and friends, like in the case above.

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Presh JM Reporter

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