Hawks rescues 19 Ethiopians in raid on Johannesburg house

Outside the Hawks building. (Gallo Images)
Outside the Hawks building. (Gallo Images)

Nineteen Ethiopians, who had allegedly been kept against their will at a house in Mondeor, Johannesburg, were rescued on Friday afternoon.

Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu told News24 this came after the serious organised crime unit had received information about a suspected human trafficking operation in the area. 

"When the unit arrived at the positively identified address, they found 19 adult males kept against their will. They are all Ethiopian nationals," Mulamu said. 

She added the men did not speak fluent English, which resulted in officers struggling to communicate with them.

Mulamu said an interpreter was also not immediately available to assist but it was clear from their reaction they had been kept against their will. 

A man, who is suspected of being one of the human traffickers, was arrested.  

"The suspect, who is also Ethiopian, is expected to appear in the Booysens Magistrate's Court on Monday and faces charges of human trafficking or smuggling," said Mulamu. 

Meanwhile, the men have been taken for processing because no documents confirming their identities were found in the house. 

Mulamu said it was difficult to ascertain their ages but they all seemed to be adults.

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