Mother sells infant daughter
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.