By Michael Makungo
JOHANNESBURG, May 8 — Human trafficking cases are reportedly on the increase in South Africa, where people are trafficked for various purposes.
In Limpopo Province, police rescued 19 foreign nationals who were found in a storeroom at a shop in Mentz village, outside the provincial capital of Polokwane earlier this week.
A 27-year-old Ethiopian national, Tekefel Swifaao, who allegedly brought the men into the country, has been arrested on a charge for human trafficking. He has appeared before court and was remanded in custody. He will appear again on May 14.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesman Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said Thursday that the 19 men found in Limopopo Province were facing charges of being in the country illegally.
“The nineteen are facing charges of being illegal foreigners. Actually all of them are Ethiopian. We do have incidents of such nature from the time to time in the province.”
The provincial manager for the Human Rights Commission, Victor Mavhidula, says the HRC always intervened when there was a case of contravention of human rights.
He said cases of human trafficking also happenned within the country when people are tricked and moved from their homes — mostly to cities — against their will.
Amongst the suspected driving factors for human trafficking in South Afric, are sexual exploitation, forced labour, drugs and an alarming new trend of parents selling their children for adoption or sex.
The number of cases in South Africa has placed a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking. In Durban, a doctor and his wife are facing charges which include rape, racketeering and sexual exploitation of a child.
A teenager testified at the beginning of their trial that she was kept locked up and she got addicted to cocaine. She said she then prostituted herself to satisfy her habit.