Four appear in court for allegedly trafficking girls from Lesotho to South Africa

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Four people are accused of trafficking girls from Lesotho to SA. (Getty Images)
Four people are accused of trafficking girls from Lesotho to SA. (Getty Images)
  • Four people have appeared in a Lesotho court over allegations of smuggling young girls into South Africa.
  • A woman was allegedly tasked with looking for young girls for her alleged lover.
  • They are expected to go on trial soon.

Four people appeared in court on Tuesday over allegations that they lured children from poor families in Lesotho and trafficked them to South Africa, where they were sexually abused.

Sehlomeng Labane, 23, from Lesotho allegedly lured underage girls to sleep with her "rich" boyfriend from South Africa in June last year, after being told by him that she was too old.

The boyfriend, Mpho Ramonotsi, 50, from Khapung Butha-Buthe, who lives in Centurion, South Africa, is accused of promising Labane money if she was successful.

Labane apparently told her friend Mamanyesemane Thoabala, 38, from Ha Foso in Lesotho to help her with the search.

Upon investigation by the police, it was revealed that a man, supposedly Ramonotsi, was spotted entering a guest house in Maseru with underage girls.

Ramonotsi, Labane, Nyatso Mokete, 23, and Thoabala appeared in Maseru Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, facing human trafficking charges.

READ | Kidnappings doubled nationally: over 4 000 cases reported to police from July to September

Appearing before Magistrate Matankiso Nthunya the four accused failed to raise the required R50 000 bail.

Itumeleng Monane-Ntsíbane, of the Department for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and the Control of Migrants, said in June last year, that they received a report that two children had gone missing in Ha Foso, Berea, in Lesotho.

Monane-Ntsíbane said:

[Labane] found three girls whom she encouraged to make a living through sex work with Ramonotsi ... Labane left with the girls to meet him at one of the guest houses where he and the girls, including Labane, had sex with him throughout the night and each was paid M400 [R400] while Labane was given M4 000 [R4 000].

It was the state's case that after this, Labane convinced two of the three girls, who were later reported missing, to go to South Africa to meet Ramonotsi once more in August.

She allegedly promised them that from the trip they would get their school fees paid and their lives would change for the better.

"That’s when Labane asked Mokete to transport them to Ramonotsi’s where they stayed for two nights. After that, the suspect sexually abused them and bought them cheap clothes,” said Monane-Ntsíbane.

Senior Inspector Beleme Moerane, from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service, said the victims are children from poor families.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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