Two high-ranking police officers in Gauteng have been arrested in connection with human trafficking.
“It is alleged that between January and November 2020, the suspects aged 57, a brigadier and a captain, allegedly visited an identified illegal brothel in Vereeniging where one of the victims was allegedly reported missing and held hostage for the purpose of sexual exploitation. They allegedly forced themselves on the victim and raped her on numerous occasions and paid money to the brothel owner,” said Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation) spokesperson Capt Ndivhuwo Mulamu.
According to Mulamu, the victim was allegedly forced by one of the suspects to open a staged rape case against a family member to divert the focus of the investigation.
“A multidisciplinary operation was conducted in Vereeniging with the assistance of DPCI provincial and national Trafficking in Persons’ Team, Tactical Response Team, and Crime Scene Investigation where warrants of arrest were executed against the two police officers,” Mulamu said.
She said the Hawks were conducting an ongoing investigation into a human trafficking syndicate in Gauteng involving a medical doctor and his accomplice, who were arrested last month and remanded in custody for allegedly conducting illegal abortions on victims and illegally sedating them.
Acting provincial head, Brig Wendy Mashwabane, commended the team on the investigation that led to the arrest of the two police officers.
“Human trafficking is an evil form of modern-day slavery, a network that preys on the vulnerability of fellow human beings for self-enrichment. The DPCI is committed to tackling this scourge in collaboration with our partners in government and civil society. Members of the public are urged to report any suspicions of trafficking in persons to crime stop hotline or their nearest DPCI office”, said Mashwabane.
The police officers are due to appear in the Vereeniging magistrate’s court on charges of human trafficking and defeating the ends of justice.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)