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Suspected human trafficking ring busted by SAPS

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At least three Basotho nationals were rescued at the weekend when South African police busted a suspected international human trafficking ring that was allegedly using women from southern African countries as sex slaves.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), officers from the specialised crime unit, the Hawks, arrested five men and rescued 11 women. This followed raids on Sunday, 27 September 2020, at three brothels in Kuruman and Rustenburg.

Seven of the victims, a Zambian, Zimbabwean, three from Lesotho and two South Africans, were rescued in Rustenburg in the North West province, while four South African women were freed in Kuruman in Northern Cape.

“The arrests of the five suspects aged between 28 and 46 is part of a year-long proactive investigation into human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the two towns,” SAPS said.

The women, aged between 20 and 39 years, were used as prostitutes at the three lodges after they were allegedly lured by the suspects with a promise of employment. Many people from South Africa’s neighbours usually flock to Africa’s most industrialised economy in search of greener pastures.

However, a sizeable number of these are usually undocumented migrants who fall prey to criminal gangs that offer to assist them to travel to and establish themselves in South Africa.

The five male suspects, who are believed to be part of an alleged criminal group, were expected to appear in court on Monday, 28 September 2020.