Shock claim in child porn case

‘Par­ents sold pic­tures to US man’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN SMILLIE

FROM the age of 11, a West Coast girl was al­legedly forced to pose and per­form sex­ual acts so her mother could take pho­to­graphs and send them to a man in the US.

Now, three years later, the teenager, who is now 14, and her 11-year-old brother are in a place of safety af­ter a dra­matic in­ter­na­tional man­hunt which started in North Carolina in the US and ended in Vre­de­burg.

The SAPS Fam­ily Vi­o­lence and Child Pro­tec­tion Unit raided the premises in Vre­den­burg last week.

The girl’s par­ents, who can’t be named be­cause of the na­ture of the crime and her age, will be back in court as they ap­ply for bail in the com­ing week. They are each fac­ing 10 charges re­lat­ing to rape, sex­ual as­sault and the man­u­fac­ture of child pornog­ra­phy.

The search for the girl started when Lieu­tenant-Colonel Heila Nie­mand, the com­man­der of the Gaut­eng Fam­ily Vi­o­lence and Child Pro­tec­tion Unit, was ap­proached by mem­bers of the Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment based at the US em­bassy in Pre­to­ria.

They in­formed her that a man had been ar­rested in Catawba County in North Carolina, with child pornog­ra­phy on his cell­phone, and it was dis­cov­ered he had paid for the pic­tures.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were able to track the pay­ments to South Africa. “He was us­ing wire trans­fers to send the money,” said Nie­mand.

US au­thor­i­ties, she said, ini­tially tracked the money trans­fers to an ad­dress in Port El­iz­a­beth, but when po­lice vis­ited the premises, they dis­cov­ered the fam­ily had moved. The hunt then moved to Gaut­eng, with no luck.

Then, de­tec­tives ob­tained an ad­dress in Vre­den­burg. “We were not sure we were go­ing to find any­thing,” she re­called. On Fe­bru­ary 14, the po­lice swooped and found the fam­ily.

Nie­mand said: “He first be­friended the child send­ing her mes­sages. Then the mother jumped on to the band­wagon want­ing pay­ment. He would send mes­sages ask­ing for spe­cific po­si­tions he wanted the girl to be pho­tographed in.

“They told us that they did it be­cause they are un­em­ployed and needed to buy food.”

The girl, Nie­mand added, had be­lieved that the man in the US was plan­ning to marry her.

Po­lice were sur­prised that the mother had no prior crim­i­nal record re­lated to child pornog­ra­phy, she added.

● Mean­while, on Tues­day, po­lice raided a brothel in Kemp­ton Park in Ekurhu­leni, Gaut­eng. They found teenagers, some as young as 15, who were be­lieved to be sex work­ers.

The teenagers were al­legedly lured to the premises un­der false pre­tences.

● Next month, 33-year-old Jayde Shel­don Bai­ley is to be sen­tenced in the Port El­iz­a­beth Mag­is­trate’s Court af­ter it was dis­cov­ered he was part of an in­ter­na­tional child pornog­ra­phy ring called “the gi­ga­tribe”, that shared im­ages.

Bai­ley – fa­ther of 15-mon­thold twin daugh­ters – and his wife are al­leged to have dis­trib­uted footage of rape, tor­ture and the mur­der of ba­bies.

This in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volved the SAPS, the FBI and Bel­gian po­lice.

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