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Tag: Human Trafficking

Mom arrested for ‘selling’ newborn twins

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, have arrested the mother of newborn twins – along with two others for human trafficking, in Gqeberha on Thursday, 3 June 2021.

According to the Hawks, the woman had sold her five-day-old twin girls to a buyer in Uitenhage.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said the trio was handcuffed during a joint operation by the Gqeberha Serious Organised Crime Investigation team of the Hawks, Uitenhage Crime Intelligence Gathering (CIG) and members of the Uitenhage South African Police Service (SAPS).

Mgolodela said they had acted on a tip off and at the time – the mother had already completed the “transaction”.

“The joint team of law enforcers followed the lead to a house in Uitenhage where the alleged prospective buyer was arrested and the babies rescued. Another arrest was effected on the mother of the twins and another suspect, which brought the number of the arrestees to three,” she said.

MOM ‘NEGLECTED’ NEWBORN TWINS

In addition to trafficking the twin girls, it also appears that the Gqeberha woman hadn’t taken care of them, including providing them with food. The Hawks claim when they were rescued in the operation, they had to be attended to medically.

“Another arrest was affected on the mother of the twins and another suspect, which brought the number of arrestees to three. The twins were admitted to hospital for medical attention as they were dehydrated and severely malnourished. They will be taken to a place of safety upon discharge”

Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela

The Hawks in Gqeberha further allege that the prospective buyer was expected to pay at least R50 a day to the mother of the twin girls in order for her to satisfy her drug addiction. Added onto that – it has also been alleged that the buyer had intended to apply for a monthly grant for the children at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) – a portion of which would be paid to the mother.

The matter is still under investigation and the accused will be formally charged when they appear in the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 7 June 2021. The charges will include human trafficking.

How human traffickers use social media to lure victims

Social media is for most people a form of escape and relaxing.  It is designed to connect people but for human trafficking predators it is an online store with countless opportunities and options.  Modern-day slavery is a market that increase rapidly and because of this, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world.

64% of the 40 million people who are enslaved is children from Africa.

Traffickers trawl through apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, looking for vulnerable children and girls. Once they’ve found a potential target, grooming begins by establishing a connection through a friend request, liking or commenting on a post.

“The numbers are now on par with estimates of the numbers of Africans who were enslaved in the 16th and 17th centuries,” said spokesperson for the non-profit organisation Stop Human Trafficking, Jameel Essop.

“Among the 30 000 children being prostituted in the country, half of these children are younger than 14 and as young as 4.

“KwaZulu-Natal is the main recruitment area for victims of human trafficking. Combating trafficking has become a major challenge, especially with perpetrators using social media,” he said.

In 2017, Polaris published a report, The Typology of Modern Slavery, explaining the types of human trafficking business models.

“The most shocking thing is that people know the victim really well and they go with them from a place of naiveté and a yearning for jobs and a better life,” said Mandy Murugan, a member of The A21 Campaign.

“They are then taken to cities and are either sold immediately into sex slavery, into domestic servitude or fishing boats and wine farms.

“Sadly no community is immune to this atrocity,” she said.

Below is a matrix showing some of the intersections that various social media platforms may have on potential victims.

A dot represents touch points throughout a trafficking life-cycle which includes identification, grooming, recruiting to overall business operations.

 

Image courtesy of Polaris

We as a community must educate our children.

While social media giants continue to tighten their rules and guidelines in the fight against human trafficking, parents are urged to speak openly to their children about the dangers online.

There are various online resources and programmes available to help further understand, identify and reduce the risk of human trafficking.

Nobody allows strangers into their homes, so why accept friend and message requests from someone you don’t know? Set your childrens’ profiles to private and ensure geotagging is switched off.

“When you get a too-good-to-be-true job offer with no normal processes to look into them, phone the company,” says Murugan.

“Be careful on social media who you become friends with and beware of any offers to travel or study.

“When it comes to kids, be careful who they’re talking to online as well. They’re just looking for affirmation and love, and they sometimes look in the wrong places.”

Top News – Sex Slaves Rescue by Hawks

Five Nigerian nationals were arrested and charged with human trafficking after the Hawks found 11 women working as prostitutes.  The women were found in brothels masquerading as bed-and-breakfast accommodation.  Two of the men were arrested in Rustenburg and the remaining three in Kuruman early on Sunday morning.  The Hawks arrived at the property to find 6 South African women, three Lesotho nationals and another woman from Zambia.  Some of the women were already ‘working’ while others were still asleep.  The four foreign nationals had expire passports in their possession at the time of the raid.

Nomthandaso Mnisi, spokesperson for the Northern Cape Hawks, said it was not yet known how the women ended up in the brothel.  He said that some of the women claimed they were lured into the country with promises of employment.  According to Mnisi the five suspects did not reside at the three properties.  “Although the women have not confirmed if they work for the suspects, they stay in their property and pay them R500 rent a day.” Mnisi said.  “An undisclosed amount of money was seized in all premises. Receipt books and three vehicles that were used in the commission if crime were also confiscated.” Mnisi said they were determining the status of the accused in the country: “We have charged the suspects with alleged trafficking in persons and we are working with the Department of Home Affairs to check their status in the country.”  She said the youngest of the 10 women is 20 years old while the oldest is 39.  According to Mnisi, they have been investigating the men for some time and are currently interviewing the women to get more information with regards to the circumstances and details of the illegal business to aid them in their investigations.

News: SAPS urges South Africans to report human trafficking.

Following recent posts on social media alleging incidents of human trafficking, the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, has appealed to anyone with information on these crimes to contact the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“We are appealing to anyone who may have information on these crime categories, preferably before they are committed, to contact the SAPS on our Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPS App, an application which can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android.

“All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous,” he said.

In light of the social media posts, Sitole highlighted the seriousness with which human trafficking and other closely related crimes are dealt with by SAPS and specialised units such as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS).

Just last week a video surfaced on social media of an incident that occurred on 10 September 2020 of a man who tried to grab a four-year-old girl while under the watchful eye of her mother at a pizza shop in Florida, Johannesburg.

The SAPS said while the suspect was charged with assault and intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the incident was not a case of human trafficking but served as a stark reminder of the realities of these type of crimes.

He called for a collective approach to be adopted to ensure that not a single person, man, woman or child becomes a victim of this crime.

“We have had sporadic reports in the past of young people, especially females that were allegedly lured away from their homes on the promise of lucrative jobs only to find themselves being trafficked for sex,” said the Commissioner.

The cases of kidnappings, abductions and missing persons are also areas of serious concern to the South African Police Service.

To deal decisively with such cases, the SAPS together with other government departments have put both proactive and reactive interventions in place.

“Each of these crimes are committed under different circumstances and with different motivations.

“Persons may be reported missing following a crime that may have been committed like murder, kidnapping, abduction or the missing person may have just simply run away from home. Whatever the circumstances, such must be reported immediately to the police and there is no waiting period for such a matter to get reported,” urged Sitole.

A person is deemed kidnapped if such a person is removed against his or her consent and deprived of his or her freedom of movement for ransom.

In the case of abduction, a person is deemed abducted if such a person is removed from the custody of his or her parents for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse.

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