More sex ring members bust

2010-03-28 10:21

ANOTHER five alleged human traffickers have been arrested in the

Mozambican capital of Maputo, bringing to eight the number of suspects taken

into custody ­following a City Press investigation into trafficking and sexual

slavery.

Last week we exposed an international trafficking syndicate that

operated out of Maputo. The syndicate had offered to sell us several Mozambican

and Chinese ­women kept in safe houses in Maputo.

The syndicate has trafficked hundreds of women and girls – some

apparently as young as 16 – across the Mozambican border into South Africa since

1994. Most of the women were recruited to work as waitresses in Johannesburg or

Durban but were forced into prostitution. They were often beaten and sometimes

raped.

Acting on information supplied to it by City Press, a Mozambican

police task team pounced on three syndicate ­members while they were trying to

sell us an 18-year-old Mozambican woman.

Over the past three weeks City Press ­visited Maputo twice to

infiltrate the ­syndicate. On our first visit the syndicate paraded six Chinese

women (four had ­already been sold) and three Mozambican women for sale for

between R5000 and R10000.

When we returned last week only one Mozambican woman was still for

sale. The others had already been brought to South Africa.

 The syndicate members

said they could find more Mozambicans in a few days and that two Chinese women

were arriving in the country that Saturday.

We provided this information, with more details, to the police

during a ­meeting with a top Home Affairs official.

Three Chinese men and a Chinese ­woman were arrested at the airport

on ­Saturday morning as they entered the country. A second woman was collected

by a local man and they managed to evade the police. The four arrested are all

­allegedly linked to the trafficking ­syndicate.

This week another Mozambican, a bank official, was also arrested

for alleged links to the syndicate. All eight suspects are in custody and are

being questioned.

Mozambique adopted extensive anti-trafficking legislation in 2008,

though ­nobody has yet been convicted. Other southern African countries, among

them Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania also have trafficking legislation but have

failed to convict as yet.

The Human Rights Council of the UN recently said human trafficking

was one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world. An estimated

2.5million people are trafficked at any given time and 800000 people are

trafficked across international borders every year.


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