Human trafficking ring: Hawks rescue 'sex slaves', arrest five in swoop on three properties

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The Hawks have rescued 10 women from an alleged human trafficking ring and arrested five people in early morning raids.
The Hawks have rescued 10 women from an alleged human trafficking ring and arrested five people in early morning raids.
Sergei-Q, iStock

The Hawks have rescued 10 women from an alleged human trafficking ring and arrested five people in early morning raids in Rustenburg and Kuruman.

READ | Bail conditions relaxed for one of 7 accused of human trafficking

The women are reportedly from Limpopo, Lesotho and Namibia and were trafficked to work in brothels in Rustenburg and Kuruman. The brothels were disguised as bed and breakfast accommodation.

"The women were trafficked from neighbouring countries and used as sex slaves. The brothels were disguised as BnBs and the women were made to pay rent while working there," Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi explained.

According to Mulaudzi, the arrests were a culmination of an investigation which lasted more than a year.

"The investigation started in June 2019. Since then, we have been working on collecting intelligence," he said.

The investigation identified six suspects. One of them died in 2019, but the remaining five were arrested during a swoop on three properties, which began at 06:00 on Sunday, Mulaudzi said.

Ten women were rescued during the operation and the Hawks were working with the Department of Social Development to take them to places of safety.

The Department of Home Affairs was also assisting with their immigration status, Mulaudzi said.

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