SIX girls of the ages of 14 to 21 were yesterday rescued from the “Jerusalema” building in downtown Joburg.
The dilapidated building is known to be a brothel housing young women.
The tip-off came after EPWP (Expanded Public Works Programme) workers in the city informed the police. The brothel is believed to be owned by two Nigerians.
The Department of Community Safety said it was concerned about sporadic cases of human trafficking that had made media reports lately.
This comes after young girls abducted in the Northern Cape were found in a Sandton flat from where a brothel was being run. All the girls there were below the age of 30.
Police had made two arrests in connection with the abduction of the women.
The two popular abduction methods are drink-spiking and “job interviews” where the girls would be drugged and used for sex.
According to the 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report titled Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, it is estimated that children comprise almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, with women and girls comprising 71% of human trafficking victims.
The department’s spokesperson, Ofentse Morwane, said the provincial government was working hard to crack down on brothels and lolly lounges, where women were kept as sex slaves.
There were efforts to go to taxi ranks and media platforms to warn people of the presence of human trafficking.
The department was also cracking down on hijacked buildings in the Johannesburg CBD which were also part of illegal underworld activities.
“These efforts are critical in ensuring we deal decisively with brothels mushrooming in Gauteng communities. Sandton, like other places in Gauteng, has, in recent times, been affected by the scourge of human trafficking but the police are doing everything in their power to ensure this scourge is eradicated,” Morwane said.
There was a programme to assist those who had been victims of human trafficking and sexual violence spearheaded by the department.
Morwane said that in most cases the victims needed help rebuilding their lives. “We call for prosecution of persons who commit human trafficking.
“To ensure that human trafficking is dealt with decisively, the department is working closely with the police to ensure that there is visible policing in each and every sector of our community and, as such, will continue to encourage integration and maximising the use of resources in the province,” Morwane said.
The provincial government encouraged Gauteng communities to always be vigilant and to report cases of human trafficking. Many women and children in the province have been victims of human trafficking.
“The department, through its Take Charge sectors, continues to engage communities during sporting activities, arts and cultural activities, labour forums and during interactions with faith-based organisations. The department, through its oversight function over the police, continuously monitors how the police deal and handle human trafficking cases. The department continues to urge the law enforcement agencies to strengthen intelligence-gathering capacity in the province as part of improving crime-fighting efforts.”
The Hawks, who deal with matters of human trafficking, said they would respond in writing to The Star on the issue of human trafficking.
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