‘Sex traffickers will be back for my daughter’

(This article was first published on 5 March 2016 on page four of the Weekend Argus, a weekend newspaper published in the Western Cape province of South Africa.)

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

The Cape Town teenager almost trafficked into sex slavery still fears that her recruiters would come after her, said her mother yesterday.

Weekend Argus reported last weekend the 19-year-old, who does not want to be named publicly, was stopped in Cape Town just before she was about to get on a flight to Johannesburg.

She was offered a job as a receptionist in Johannesburg but local non-profit, Activist Networking against the Exploitation of Children (Anex), confirmed the company recruiting her was in fact operating a house for sex workers.

The teen’s mother, who also did not want to be named, yesterday told Weekend Argus her daughter was safe.

“She is not staying with us at the moment. We are trying to keep her away from our residence because our address is on her CV that she sent them (recuiters),” said the mother.

“We feel they will come back for her. They are a syndicate and they will come back looking for her because she cost them money.”

Anex executive director Claudia Smit said they would assist the teen with counselling. She was also concerned that the police had not yet started investigating the matter.

“We have enough evidence that this girl would have been trafficked,” said Smit.

“They need to prosecute him (recruiter). He needs to be charged with trafficking.”

Western Cape police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk said they could not investigate the matter until the teen laid a complaint.

“She needs to report the matter to the police for an investigation to be instituted. We cannot act on the grounds of what a third party says,” said Van Wyk.

Smit said it was unlikely that the teen would lay a complaint with the police.

“If she was desperate to lay a case she would have already. Women are not reporting these matters because the police are not empathetic,” said Smit.

“If that girl goes to the police station alone today who will believe her. And this country is one of the most violent in the world.”

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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