Human Trafficking: Police rescue 13yr girl from sale to sex syndicate

The human trafficking police rescued a 13-year-old girl after her family attempted to sell her to a syndicate for sexual exploitation for R40 million on Tuesday.

Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said a multi-disciplinary driven rescue operation was conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption and Organised Crime Investigation teams, together with the Vanderbijlpark SAPS Task Team for serious and violent crimes and the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit in the Vaal Rand.

“The operation resulted in a successful arrest of two female suspects aged 36 and 57 for trafficking in persons, conspiracy to sell a minor for sexual exploitation, abduction and theft of a child,” Nkwalase said.

Nkwalase said the investigation team followed up on suspicious human trafficking activities that were planned in the Heidelberg area, where a stepmother and step-grandmother allegedly conspired to sell their 13 year old stepdaughter to a human trafficking syndicate for R40 million.

“A waylay investigation was put in motion and the joint police team seized the R30 000 entrapment cash and electronic gadgets for further investigation. The rescued minor was taken to a place of safety,” Nkwalase said.

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Provincial Head in Gauteng, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa commended the investigation team for the successful operation.

“What is rather disturbing with this situation is that family members were found to be involved in the alleged crime committed against their own,” Kadwa said.

“Setting up an operation of this magnitude shows bravery and we applaud the investigation team for executing it 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 human trafficking related allegations.” Kadwa said.

The pair is expected to appear in the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Thursday 17 June. The investigation continues.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, Hawks Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team in Johannesburg arrested Kenneth Siphiwe Mazibuko , 37, who is facing a charge of fraud. The suspect was employed at Nedbank as a regulatory risk monitoring officer.

He allegedly linked a Nedbank client’s bank account with his own and made a fraudulent withdrawal of approximately R140 000 into his personal account. The incident was uncovered during an internal investigation by the bank following a query from the customer.

Mazibuko appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court soon after he handed himself over to the Hawks on Tuesday.

He was released on R2000, bail. He is expected to be back in 9 July 2021.

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