Woman rescued from Malaysian sex trafficking syndicate expected back in SA on Sunday evening
A 27-year-old Free State woman who was among nine women rescued from a sex trafficking syndicate in Malaysia on Friday is expected to arrive back in South Africa on Sunday evening.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula‚ who paid for the woman’s flight home‚ said on Twitter he would be at OR Tambo to meet her‚ adding that “more needs to be done to protect our women and act against human trafficking”.
The nine women were saved from a life of sex slavery after one of them made a desperate phone call to Bloemfontein from a Malaysia hotel room.
The women were lured to Kuala Lumpur by an internet advert for a beauty pageant‚ Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Saturday.
“Upon arrival they were informed by their handler that the show has been cancelled and they were held hostage in a hotel room‚” he said.
The South African among them‚ a 27-year-old‚ “managed to make a frantic phone call to her brother who then contacted (police) minister Fikile Mbalula”.
Mbalula alerted the Hawks‚ who called in Brigadier Scott Naidoo‚ the head of Interpol in South Africa. He contacted Malaysian authorities.
Said Mulaudzi: “The Malaysian police‚ accompanied by their anti-human trafficking unit‚ swooped into the hotel and fortunately managed to rescue the desperate ladies. It is understood that (they) were going to be smuggled to different parts of the world for sex trafficking.”
One of the women‚ a Zimbabwean‚ is suspected of being part of the trafficking syndicate and was arrested.