A South African police spokesperson last week confirmed that Zimbabwean citizens were part of the group of trafficked girls who had been held captive on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal by a group of people working for a Nigerian syndicate which ships young women to work as sex slaves in Asia after promising them jobs.
The masterminds of the syndicate dramatically eluded a police raid recently and it is feared that they will continue conscripting more girls into prostitution. Other girls are said to be mostly from Swaziland and Mozambique.
The suspected human trafficking syndicate allegedly operates on an international scale, transporting its victims to European and Asian countries where they work as prostitutes or outright slaves.
According to information from the SA police, the syndicate is made up of South Africans and Nigerians.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge confirmed that police were hot on the syndicate¡¯s trail after they came painstakingly close to nabbing the syndicate¡¯s operatives in Paulpieterseburg.
“We were very close. We almost had them but they were somehow tipped off and they disappeared with the young children. Our big fear now is what has happened to these children,” he said.
He said they believed the syndicate mainly trafficked girls from Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
“Once across the border, the girls are apparently brought to the farm, which we believe is being used not only to house them, but also as a brothel. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed receiving reports on the recruitment of Zimbabwean victims, saying local police were in constant contact with their South African counterparts regarding the matter.
“We communicated with our colleagues in South Africa and they confirmed that there are a number of Zimbabweans in the trafficked group. We are yet to receive information on the exact number of victims but we are in constant touch with South African police and they will furnish us with further details soon,” he said.
The human trafficking syndicate is said to have been operating a brothel on the farm outside Paulpitersburg since 2006.
The farm is apparently also being used as a holding camp for young girls who are taken to Europe and Asia