Mother sells in­fant daugh­ter

Lesotho Times - - News -

name be­cause when we called the cell­phone num­ber she gave them, she said she did not know any­body by that name. We have com­pleted in­ves­ti­ga­tions on this side but un­til we find the child, we can’t ar­rest the women. Like I said, we will soon be ask­ing our South African coun­ter­parts for help in lo­cat­ing the baby and the woman in ques­tion,” he said.

How­ever, Se­nior In­spec­tor Ko- koliea said this was one of sev­eral cases of sus­pected hu­man-traf­fick­ing to have taken place in Leribe district over re­cent months. Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea gave an ex­am­ple of six sus­pected hu­man traf­fick­ing cases which took place in July alone.

“On 21 July, two men al­legedly ab­ducted a South African woman and brought her to St Mon­ica’s where they raped her.

“The sus­pects have since been re­manded in cus­tody. It is al­leged they raped the woman as pun­ish­ment for her brother’s be­trayal.

“It is al­leged the woman’s brother had an­gered the men by giv­ing South African po­lice in­for­ma­tion that they could have been in­volved in stock-theft.

“One of the sus­pects, aged 21, is also fac­ing stock-theft charges in South Africa and is said to have or­ches­trated the re­venge af­ter he was re­leased on bail.

“He was also fac­ing rob­bery charges here in Le­sotho and had left for South Africa af­ter he had been re­leased on bail,” Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea said.

He also said Ma­put­soe po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case in which an­other South African woman was forcibly brought into Le­sotho and raped over four days and only re­leased af­ter the pay­ment of a M250 ran­som.

“The woman and her friends were from a night vigil in Ficks­burg when two men opened fire on them,” Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea said.

“The three women started run­ning and one of them was caught, and brought into Le­sotho where she was raped.

“She was held cap­tive for four days and when her wor­ried par­ents called her on her phone, the traf­fick­ers de­manded a M500 ran­som for her re­lease.

“The par­ents said they could only af­ford M250 and when they paid the money, the young woman, who had been blind­folded all this time, was re­leased,” he said, adding the sus­pects had since ap­peared in court and re­manded in cus­tody.

Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea also said they are look­ing for a South African woman who al­legedly traf- ficked four teenage girls from Ma­put­soe to South Africa, where she turned them into sex slaves.

The girls are aged be­tween 15 and 17 years and have since been res­cued in a joint Le­sotho and South African po­lice op­er­a­tion, Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea added.

“The girls have scars all over their bod­ies as they al­lege that they were beaten each time they re­fused to have sex with men the woman would have brought home for them or the money they brought home af­ter a night-out was not enough,” he said.

“The teenagers said bring­ing M200 per night would anger the woman as she said this was too lit­tle. She would then se­verely as­sault them for bring­ing such lit­tle amount.

“The woman is still at large and we are still look­ing for her in col­lab­o­ra­tion with South African po­lice.”

Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea also told the Le­sotho Times the in­creas­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing cases had be­come cause of con­cern to the po­lice and Ma­put­soe com­mu­nity at large.

“I think due to high un­em­ploy­ment, most peo­ple travel to Ma­put­soe seek­ing em­ploy­ment at the many tex­tile firms and other man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies in this town. And for those who are un­lucky, they end up be­ing promised jobs in South Africa af­ter find­ing no joy in Ma­put­soe.

“But soon af­ter ar­riv­ing in South Africa, they are turned into sex slaves and be­cause they would have crossed the bor­der il­le­gally, the traf­fick­ers re­port them to the po­lice once they are done with them.”

Ac­cord­ing to Se­nior In­spec­tor Kokoliea, the po­lice had since started hold­ing pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns on hu­man traf­fick­ing in the town.

The ma­jor­ity of tex­tile em­ploy­ees are women who are easy tar­gets for the traf­fick­ers, he added.

“The fac­tory em­ploy­ers give us 30 min­utes to ad­dress their work­ers on is­sues of hu­man traf­fick­ing dur­ing lunch breaks,” he said.

Hu­man traf­fick­ing is still preva­lent in some African coun­tries.

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