Following recent posts on social media, the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Khehla John Sitole has highlighted the seriousness with which human trafficking and other closely related crimes are being dealt with by the SAPS as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.
The incident that occurred on 10 September 2020, of a man who tried to grab a four year old girl while under the watchful eye of her mother at a pizza shop in Florida Johannesburg, is a stark reminder of the realities of these type of crimes. While the suspect was charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and that this was not a case of human trafficking, this has been a reminder to both the authorities as well as every inhabitant of this country of the level of vigilance we need to employ to ensure that people are and feel safe.
Even though human trafficking is not prevalent in South Africa as it is in other parts of the world we must adopt a collective approach ensuring that not a single person, man, woman or child becomes a victim of this crime. We have had sporadic reports in the past of young people, especially females, that were allegedly lured away from their homes on the promise of lucrative jobs only to find themselves being trafficked for sex.
The cases of kidnappings, abductions and missing persons are also areas of serious concern to the South African Police Service. The SAPS together with other Government departments have put both proactive and reactive interventions in place to decisively deal with such cases. Each of these crimes are committed under different circumstances and with different motivations.
Persons may be reported missing following a crime that may have been committed like murder, kidnapping, abduction or the missing person may have just simply run away from home. Whatever the circumstances, such must be reported immediately to the police and there is no waiting period for such a matter to get reported.
A person is deemed kidnapped if such a person is removed against his or her consent and deprived of his or her freedom of movement for ransom. A person is deemed abducted if such a person is removed from the custody of his or her parents for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse. However, if such a person is under the age of 16 then the act of sexual intercourse would constitute rape.
The seriousness at which these crimes are being attended to is also highlighted by the fact that they are either investigated by specialsed units like the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) or the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS).
We are appealing to anyone who may have information on these crime categories, preferably before they are committed, to contact the SAPS on our Crime Stop number 086 00 10111. Information may also be communicated via the MySAPS App, an application which can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android.
All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous.