Suspect to appear in court for human trafficking

A 40-year-old suspect is expected to appear before the Bethal Magistrate’s Court on Monday for charges of human trafficking.

The suspect was arrested at Bethal on Saturday by the Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit based in Secunda, Mpumalanga.

Hawks received a tip-off about young undocumented Mozambicans who were kept at a farm in Bethal.

“The team promptly responded to information and on arrival at the farm, they found six undocumented Mozambicans,” reads a police statement.

Trafficked on promise of jobs

The victims told the hawks that they were recruited from Mozambique after being promised a job in South Africa.

“They were recruited from Mozambique and were promised that someone in South Africa has a job for them,” said Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi.

The victims allegedly travelled from Mozambique on 5 May 2022 in a blue bakkie and the driver stopped before the Mozambican border.

The driver allegedly told them to use the river to cross the border while he passes through the border post in his car.

“The victims did as they were instructed and met with the driver at the other side of the border in South Africa,” said Sekgotodi.

The driver then drove them to Bethal, where he handed them over to the suspect who reportedly got paid R800 for each of the victims.

Exploited

The victims allege the suspect instructed them to cut the grass and during the night he would use a bakkie to transport them to nearby mines to steal coal.

The suspect reportedly paid the victims R100 each for stealing coal but never paid them for other jobs.

The victims are being kept in a safe place while investigations continue.

The Provincial Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation General Zodwa Mokoena commended the public for reporting the crime.

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