Top businessmen linked to child sex ring

2009-03-23 00:00

TOP Durban businessmen have been linked to a child prostitution syndicate after a newly formed provincial task team launched investigations into the city’s child sex trade.

Month-long investigations by the task team, which is made up of organised crime unit members, National Prosecuting Authority officials and child prostitution experts, has revealed that some of the city’s top businessmen have been involved in the syndicate, which prostitutes children, some as young as 10-years-old, to wealthy men.

The task team was launched after police noticed an increase in crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.

The idea for the task team stemmed from an incident in which a Sierra Leone man lured under-age girls into a sex syndicate. The man promised the girls work, but instead sold them to rich businessmen.

He charged his clients R1 000 for a night with a young girl. The foreign national was arrested and charged under the Sexual Offences Act, Child Protection Act and Human Trafficking Act.

The businessmen are believed to have asked specifically for young girls to engage in sexual intercourse and other lewd acts.

While the names of the businessman could not be revealed, police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said that several had already been charged under the Human Trafficking and Child Pornography acts. He said the task team is still investigating the syndicate and that revealing the men’s names at this stage will jeopardise the investigation.

The syndicate and an incident involving a 16-year-old Phoenix girl who was allegedly drugged and raped by four boys at house party have prompted authorities to act fast to prevent the further exploitation of children. The boys allegedly captured the rape on a cellphone. The video is also being circulated on the Internet.

“This is a major problem for us. Matters that relate to children and women are a priority and we can’t gamble with that. Those who exploit and abuse them will face the law,” Mdunge said.

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