- The Hawks raided two brothels in North West and one brothel in the Northern Cape.
- The raids resulted in the rescue of 11 alleged human trafficking victims.
- The Hawks believe the suspects are part of a larger criminal group.
Eleven alleged human trafficking victims were rescued on Sunday morning after the Hawks raided three brothels in two different provinces following a year-long investigation.
Five suspects were arrested during the raids.
The raids on two brothels in Rustenburg in the North West, as well as one in Kuruman in the Northern Cape, followed a Hawks investigation into human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
With the assistance of Crime Intelligence, K9, TRT, Crime Scene Investigation and Home Affairs, the Hawks pounced on two guesthouses, namely Birdsong Bed and Breakfast and Noble Guest House at Kerk Street, Rustenburg, which were allegedly used as brothels.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said seven victims - a Zambian, Zimbabwean, three Lesotho nationals and two South Africans - were rescued in Rustenburg, while four South African women were rescued in Kuruman.
"The women, aged between 20 and 39 years, were used as prostitutes on the premises after they were allegedly lured by the suspects with a promise of employment," Mulaudzi alleged.
During the raids, five suspects, aged between 28 and 46, who are believed to be a part of an organised criminal group, were also arrested.
"An undisclosed amount of money was seized at all the premises. Receipt books and three vehicles that were used in the commission of crime were also confiscated."
The brothels were also closed down.
Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the arrests and commended the community for the role they played in reporting the matter to the Hawks.
The suspects are expected to appear in the Rustenburg and Kuruman Magistrates' Courts respectively on Monday.