Five suspects, arrested in connection with alleged human trafficking, are expected to appear in the Rustenburg and Kuruman Magistrate Courts today, in South Africa.
The five men were arrested on Sunday morning following a Hawks Northern Cape and North West Serious Organised Crime investigation with the assistance of Crime Intelligence, K9, TRT, Crime Scene Investigation and the Department of Home Affairs.
The investigation saw law enforcement raid three brothels in Kuruman and Rustenburg, ultimately arresting the five.
According to Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, 11 victims of alleged human trafficking were also rescued.
Search warrants were served at two guesthouses – named by the South African Police Service as Birdsong B&B and Noble Guest House – at Kerk Street, Rustenburg. These guesthouses were apparently used as brothels.
The two premises have since been closed, said SAPS.
“Another simultaneous operation also led to a closure of a house in Kuruman. Seven victims, a Zambian, Zimbabwean, three from Lesotho and two South Africans were rescued in Rustenburg,” he said.
Additionally, four South African women were rescued in Kuruman.
He said the arrest of the five suspects aged between 28 and 46, is part of a yearlong proactive investigation into human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the two towns.
The women aged between 20 and 39 years, were used as prostitutes on the premises after they were allegedly lured by the suspects with a promise of employment.
In addition, an undisclosed amount of money was seized at all premises. Receipt books and three vehicles that were used in the commission of crimes were also confiscated.
The five men are believed to be part of an alleged criminal group.
The National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation ( DPCI) Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the arrests and commended the role played by all units.
Lebeya also appreciated the role that was played by community members who reported the matter to the Hawks.
“I want to encourage all South Africans to continuously work hand in glove with the law enforcement agencies to combat the ongoing threat posed by organised criminal groups.”
By: Onalenna Mhlongo-SAnews.gov.za