E Cape hoax causing panic
Johannesburg - A hoax email claiming that a human trafficking syndicate is operating in Port Elizabeth is "irresponsible" and a waste of investigators' time, Eastern Cape police have said.
The emails, claiming women and children were being abducted in the Port Elizabeth area for sex and drug trafficking, had caused panic among residents, said Eastern Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Mpumelelo Landu.
"It must be made very clear that human trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon and the educating of police officials and the public about this hideous crime forms part of our crime prevention strategy.
"It is however also extremely irresponsible for individuals to spread untruths about so called 'incidents' or 'intentions of syndicates' to abduct children and women."
Landu said investigators had received a flood of phone calls about the email and that following up the claims had been a waste of "valuable time and resources.
"All the emails currently in circulation have been investigated and not a single one has proved to be true. The public is requested to disregard these hoaxes," he said.
Panic surrounding the emails was fuelled last week when a Port Elizabeth schoolgirl reported that two men had tried to abduct her.
The two men attempted to force the girl into a vehicle, but she had fought back and ran away, Landu said.
He said people should not assume that this attack was related to the emails.