Following recent posts on social media alleging incidents of human trafficking, the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, has appealed to anyone with information on these crimes to contact the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“We are appealing to anyone who may have information on these crime categories, preferably before they are committed, to contact the SAPS on our Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPS App, an application which can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android.
“All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous,” he said.
In light of the social media posts, Sitole highlighted the seriousness with which human trafficking and other closely related crimes are dealt with by SAPS and specialised units such as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS).
Just last week a video surfaced on social media of an incident that occurred on 10 September 2020 of a man who tried to grab a four-year-old girl while under the watchful eye of her mother at a pizza shop in Florida, Johannesburg.
The SAPS said while the suspect was charged with assault and intent to cause grievous bodily harm, the incident was not a case of human trafficking but served as a stark reminder of the realities of these type of crimes.
He called for a collective approach to be adopted to ensure that not a single person, man, woman or child becomes a victim of this crime.
“We have had sporadic reports in the past of young people, especially females that were allegedly lured away from their homes on the promise of lucrative jobs only to find themselves being trafficked for sex,” said the Commissioner.
The cases of kidnappings, abductions and missing persons are also areas of serious concern to the South African Police Service.
To deal decisively with such cases, the SAPS together with other government departments have put both proactive and reactive interventions in place.
“Each of these crimes are committed under different circumstances and with different motivations.
“Persons may be reported missing following a crime that may have been committed like murder, kidnapping, abduction or the missing person may have just simply run away from home. Whatever the circumstances, such must be reported immediately to the police and there is no waiting period for such a matter to get reported,” urged Sitole.
A person is deemed kidnapped if such a person is removed against his or her consent and deprived of his or her freedom of movement for ransom.
In the case of abduction, a person is deemed abducted if such a person is removed from the custody of his or her parents for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse.
However, if such a person is under the age of 16 then the act of sexual intercourse would constitute rape.