Suspected Welkom human trafficking kingpin hands himself over to Hawks
A prominent Free State businessman‚ suspected by police of being the kingpin of a human slave trade syndicate‚ has been arrested.
The businessman‚ who owns numerous farms and lodges across the province‚ was arrested after he handed himself over to Hawks officers on Wednesday.
The arrest‚ along with the capture of another syndicate member‚ believed to be a recruiter from Lesotho‚ brings the number of people arrested to eight.
Eleven people‚ the majority of them from Lesotho‚ have been rescued from the syndicate since last week. The latest victim was rescued on Tuesday when police received information that she was being kept on a farm outside Welkom.
Police uncovered the syndicate after a Lesotho national‚ who had been conned into coming to South Africa for work and then made to guard women forced into prostitution‚ alerted his family back in his country. They in turn contacted the Lesotho authorities‚ who alerted Interpol.
Free State Hawks spokesman‚ Captain S'fiso Nyakane‚ said the businessman would appear in court on Wednesday on charges of human trafficking.
He said the charges related to him operating a syndicate selling women as sex slaves and men as cheap labour.
"We are looking at allegations that he was using his farms and lodges as brothels."
He said the businessman‚ along with his co-accused‚ would appear in court next week for a formal bail application.
David* arrived in South Africa last week‚ with the promise of work as a shop assistant in the Free State mining town of Welkom. Instead‚ with the threat of violence and death hanging over him‚ he ...
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