Johannesburg – A 32-year-old Bulawayo man has been arrested for allegedly smuggling 21 children into South Africa through an illegal crossing point along the Limpopo River, Zimbabwe’s Herald Online reported on Thursday.
It is believed that the man was taking the children, aged between 1 and 16, from Bulawayo to Johannesburg and claimed to have been hired by their parents.
Beitbridge Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo said the man was apprehended in South Africa at around 06:00 on Wednesday.
“The suspect was arrested by our counterparts across Limpopo while loading the children into the car in a bushy area between the South African side of the border and Musina town.
Children in care
“They then handed him over to us. More charges will be preferred against him upon completion of investigations,” said Chinhengo.
‘Smuggled’ Zim children taken home
Johannesburg – The department of home affairs took a group of 21 children, who were allegedly smuggled into South Africa from Zimbabwe on Wednesday, home.
Limpopo police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Ramatseba said on Thursday that a 32-year-old Bulawayo man had allegedly helped the children to cross the Limpopo River into South Africa on Wednesday.
“The children were referred to home affairs and taken back to Zimbabwe,” Ramatseba said.
“The Bulawayo man paid a R2 000 admission of guilt fine for smuggling illegally.”
Ramatseba said the man had “apparently” been hired by the children’s parents.
He was to have transported the children, aged between 1 and 16, to Johannesburg from Bulawayo.
He was apprehended in South Africa at about 06:00 on Wednesday while loading the children into a car in a bushy area between the South African side of the border and Musina.
The man was handed over to the Zimbabwean police.
“More charges will be preferred against him upon completion of investigations,” Zimbabwean police officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo, told the country’s Herald Online newspaper.
The children were taken under the care of Save the Children Centre in Zimbabwe while investigations continued.
“We are yet to verify the suspect’s claim that he was taking them to their parents,” Chinhengo said.
“The suspect will soon be sent to court and we want to strongly warn all those involved in such criminal acts that their days are numbered.”
Seven other men who were travelling in the same vehicle were also arrested for contravening the Immigration Act.
Among them, five had valid travel passports though they had opted to leave the country through an illegal crossing point, said Chinhengo.
Human trafficker gets life sentence
Pretoria – Human trafficker Adina dos Santos was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Pretoria Regional Court in Gauteng, the Hawks said on Wednesday.
Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said she was sentenced on Tuesday after she was found guilty of trafficking three girls from Mozambique in February 2008.
The girls, who were between 14 and 17-years-old at the time, were kept at a house in Moreleta outside Pretoria and were forced into prostitution by Dos Santos, he said.
Dos Santos was also given a one-year sentence for living off the money she had made from the girls.
The girls, who returned to Mozambique after testifying against Dos Santos were in court when the sentence was handed down.
Polela said the police hoped the sentence would send a clear message to those who trafficked young girls and profited from their sexual exploitation.
Raid too late to rescue 100 sex slaves
Durban – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) is keeping tight-lipped about its investigations into a possible human trafficking syndicate that is allegedly recruiting women and girls from other parts of Africa and putting them to work in the sex trade.
Police raided a farm at Paulpietersburg – believed to be used by the syndicate as a base – and a brothel on Friday, but found the place empty, leading them to believe that somehow the syndicate had been tipped off.
Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said on Monday the police would not release more information to the media. A Durban newspaper on Monday quoted police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge as saying the police narrowly missed rescuing about 100 women and girls during the raid.
He said their investigations showed that this was the most serious case of human trafficking they have come across. It is thought the syndicate recruits women in Mozambique and Zimbabwe and sends them abroad, even to countries like the Netherlands, to work in the sex trade.
Mdunge said they are also following up on information that some children are being held in other parts of the country.
The police are worried about what might happen to the children as long as they remain in the hands of their captors. That is why they are working with SADC and Interpol to make sure the girls are not smuggled across borders
Chinese madams charged for brothel
Cape Town – Two Chinese women who allegedly ran a brothel in Goodwood, and lured young women from China to South Africa, are to go on trial in the Parow Regional Court.
They have been charged with keeping a brothel and human trafficking, but because the charges involve sexual offences, they cannot be named until they plead.
They appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, when the case was postponed until June 2 for a trial date. They are out on bail of R5 000 each.
They are accused of luring young Chinese women to South Africa with false promises of jobs that paid monthly salaries of up to R50 000.
The women were arrested at their Goodwood premises in February following an investigation prompted by an advertisement in a community newspaper for a massage parlour operating from a house in Goodwood.
Police vice squad members and the human trafficking task team raided the house and rescued two Chinese women, aged 25 and 29, who were being forced to work as prostitutes.
The two women were taken to a place of safety.
At the time, the City of Cape Town said the vice squad regularly combed newspapers for massage parlour advertisements, because these were sometimes used as fronts for brothels.
Human trafficking is happening right here on our doorstep and it seems as if most people are just ignoring the situation or assuming that it only takes place in other countries.
A recent report showed that two women were kidnapped from Johannesburg and forced to work as sex-workers in a drug-house.
Two southerners have decided to take up the fight against human trafficking; Chantel Canario and Paulo Calisto have joined forces to raise awareness for the cause and with Chantel running stophumantrafficking.co.za, they feel that if they can help one person escape from their chains (both physically and mentally) their efforts would have been worth it.
Chantel says, “With South Africa having a large population of orphans due to HIV Aids and other social causes, children are a target for human traffickers and with few cases of kidnapping reported, it is difficult to monitor and gauge the extent of these crimes.” According to her our airports are still a major gateway for the importing and exporting of humans.
To raise awareness and funds for the project Stop Human Trafficking is hosting a number of events in 2011. The first is a Golf Day that is taking place at Southdowns Country Club on 24 August as well as XFC on 3 September, where R10 will be donated for every ticket sold.
A child goes missing every six hours in South Africa, according to figures released by the South African Police Service Missing Persons Bureau.
And experts agree that many are the victims of child sex-trafficking gangs, muthi murders and even fathers committing infanticide to avoid paying maintenance.
The reports last week in The Independent on Saturday of the possibility that human bones unearthed by massive seas at Umdloti were those belonging to some of the six girls who were victims of paedophile Gert van Rooyen 18 years ago has again cast a spotlight on the huge numbers of missing children in South Africa.
Child protection services estimate that, in South Africa, one in three girls and one in five boys suffer sexual exploitation in some form and more than 2 000 children are murdered each year.
Lerato Mailula, of the SA Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, said while many of the children reported missing are actually runaways, there are some who are killed by their paternal families to avoid paying child support.
“In many cases where children are born out of the wedlock and the mother is suing for child support, the child is kidnapped by the father and disposed of to avoid paying maintenance,” she said.
Lynette Prinsloo of the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, said she can’t deny that it happened here, but there was no evidence to prove it.
“When children are taken by their biological fathers, it is not considered as kidnapping so there is no real follow-up to check what happened to them,” she said.
In Durban, Asha Khelawan of the KZN Missing Person’s Bureau said she was aware of a few cases but would not elaborate.
Another major problem is one of child trafficking, where children are kidnapped and sold to the sex-tourism market.
Last year the United States released a report saying South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation which experts believe is a major contributor to the number of children missing around the country.
Recent statistics from the Network Against Child Labour revealed that of the 400 000 child labourers in the country, more than 247 900 children were involved in so-called “exploitative labour”, including prostitution.
Molo Songololo, a non-governmental organisation that has been studying the child trafficking, said on its website that South Africa was becoming a second Thailand.
“Several sources identified the trafficking of children from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng and the Western Cape and from the Eastern Cape to Gauteng and the Western Cape.
“If this is a fair reflection of the inter-provincial traffic in children, then it would be reasonable to assume that Gauteng and the Western Cape are provinces of destination and the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are provinces of origin (of child prostitutes),” it said.
Meanwhile, research by the SA Institute of Security Studies (ISS) showed that South Africa, in spite of being one of the most developed societies in Africa, has a frighteningly high rate of muthi slayings.
South African Police Service statistics estimated the average to be anywhere from one a month to 300 a year.
On the ISS website, Dr Anthony Minnar says: “We have children going missing every week from our townships. The assumption is that those missing children are being put into prostitution and also that they are being used for muthi murder.”
Following complaints from the community of an unusual amount of ladies coming and going from a house in Mayberry Park, the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department Crime Prevention Task Team pounced and busted a massive on-line brothel on Thursday 9 June at around lunchtime in a residential house.
Several young women aged between 20 and 30 years, including the alleged manager and the owner of the brothel were arrested and will face various charges in terms of the Films and Publication Act, SARS Act (Income Tax Act), the City Development, Buildings and Health By-Laws of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.
The alleged owner of this illegal X-rated business was a male suspect in his forties. On further investigation it emerged that the person he had rented the house from, was unaware of the misuse of the property.
Further investigations revealed that two-shifts, a day and a night shift, with at least seven ladies per shift, have been in operation for at least a year on these premises. It also emerged that the business was raking in a whopping R120 000 per month.
One room in the house, used as a hub, had no less than a dozen modems. This was used as a feeder to a further four chat rooms each with three stations from which the young ladies operated. A plethora of seductive paraphernalia including sex toys were found in the rooms.
Sophisticated computers with web-cams that enable clients to view the explicit X-rated acts performed by the ladies, were confiscated.
Charges against all nine suspects will be registered at the Brackendowns Police Station in Alberton. The suspects will appear in the Alberton Magistrates court soon.
Hi. 16 years ago i was 24 years old, someone took me from soweto where i grew up and i was left stranded and miserable in the streets of joburg to work as a sex slave for men I did not know. I managed to run away and find a boyfriend to stay with in order to survive. I am a victim of human trafficking. Now I am a gospel musician and a poet its the holy trinity that saved me from all those dangers I want to work for such a cause as a gospel musician to try and help others.