Mpumalanga police rescued the children, aged between 12 and 17, from a house in Rhenosterhoek, near Sabie, and also arrested a businessman and a relative on Tuesday.
The 60-year-old businessman and the 22-year-old relative appeared in the Sabie Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, charged with human trafficking for sexual purposes and rape.
“Investigations uncovered that the victims were brought to South Africa in 2009 by the woman, supposedly to attend school, but she sold them to the suspect,” said Mpumalanga police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi.
Police rescued the girls following an investigation based on a tip-off, and found the girls had been locked in the house and “used as sex slaves”.
The man was granted bail of R70 000, with conditions, but the woman remained in custody. Their case was postponed.
“South Africa has become a conduit for human trafficking. Our borders are… porous,” said Dr Jackie de Wet, of the criminology and forensic studies department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday.
In Balfour on Tuesday, a 70-year-old community policing forum chairman appeared in court for allegedly raping a 13-year-old boy over several years.IOL