Police officer arrested for allegedly raping a young girl

Image via Adobe Stock

Teenage girl (16) faces human trafficking charges for luring scholars

Human trafficking charges have been laid after three teens who hail from Phuthaditjhaba in the eastern Free State, were traced to Sasolburg.

Police officer arrested for allegedly raping a young girl

Image via Adobe Stock

A 16-year old Free State teenage girl is facing human trafficking charges for allegedly luring two 15-year old fellow girl scholars from Phuthaditjhaba into a prostitution ring run by foreign nationals.

Last week, Free State police called on the public to assist in finding all three teenagers who hail from Phuthaditjhaba which is located in the eastern part of the province, after they were reported missing by concerned family members who last saw them on 20 November 2020, at a house in Mantsubise Street.

Trio found in Sasolburg, 250km away from home

Free State police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele said at the time of the disappearance that all three girls were attending Mafube Intermediate School and were in fact dressed in their school uniforms when they were last seen. Those school uniforms were found dumped in a refuse bin at one of the victim’s homes in the Phuthaditjhaba.

READ: Human trafficking: Where are the worst ‘kidnapping hotspots’ in SA?

Makhele says a few days later, the trio was spotted posting pictures on social media. Preliminary investigations led authorities to Sasolburg, where the two 15-year old victims were found outside a tavern in Zamdela.

Makhele says they were taken in by the Family, Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, and later returned into the custody of their families.

Meanwhile, the accused teenager was arrested and transported back to Phuthaditjhaba, where she will be making her first court appearance in the local Magistrate Court on Monday, 7 December.

The 16-year old girl has been identified as the middleman in the kidnapping, the people she worked for – the unnamed foreign nationals – are still at large. Free State police are calling on the public to assist in tracking down the kidnappers.

“Anyone with information must contact Lieutenant Colonel Lekhaoli Thito on 082 414 9736 or Captain Thabiso Moholo on 083 750 5366”.

Free State police spokesperson, Motantsi Makhele

A spike in human trafficking?

This incident comes on the back of Free State police urging the public to report suspected human trafficking to authorities before posting and sharing such information on social media.

Makhele said at the time that simply sharing such cases on social media, doesn’t serve any tangible purpose. According to him at that stage police’s cybercrime unit has been diligently following up on all human trafficking allegations that have gone viral on social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and have determined that the allegations are not only false, but were also spread on the same platforms in 2017. 

This sentiment was later echoed by Police Minister Bheki Cele who told media two months ago, that there wasn’t a spike in human trafficking incidences per se, but that the issue was gaining popularity on social media platforms. Cele’s response has elicited widespread criticism from South Africans who feel the issue is urgent.