Investigations under way in trafficking case

31 July 2017 - 11:29 By Ernest Mabuza
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Police Minister Fikile Mbalula
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula
Image: Supplied

Police investigations were still under way on Monday to arrest people involved in the alleged trafficking of a 24-year-old Bloemfontein woman to Malaysia.

Princess Mahlangu returned to South Africa on Sunday following a joint operation between Malaysian and South African police officials‚ which resulted in the arrest of a Zimbabwean national in Malaysia.

Mahlangu was conned online into a fake modelling competition‚ along with 13 other women from countries such as Thailand‚ the United States and Barbados.

When Mahlangu arrived in Malaysia‚ she and the other women were told the show had been cancelled and were held hostage in a hotel room.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday investigations were continuing.

“We have fully activated our police‚ the matter is with the police‚ including those people in Bloemfontein with all the claims they are making.

“All the leads‚ working with Malaysia‚ will be followed to the end. People who should be arrested would be arrested‚” Mbalula said.

Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Monday investigations continued in South Africa to apprehend the people involved. There had been no arrests in South Africa yet.

“The Princess story is very sophisticated and seems to be very complex. Here is a girl who has been Miss Glamour Free State‚ whatever that it is.

“There comes something known as United Heritage and then she is there and recruited to go to attend to this pageant and there she lands in Malaysia with all other kids there in Malaysia‚” Mbalula said.

She said when she arrived in Malaysia‚ there was nothing like a beauty pageant.

“There is a Nigerian involved‚ a coordinator of this whole thing is a Nigerian‚” Mbalula said.

Mbalula said trafficking syndicates were well organised and technology-savvy. He said human trafficking was usually for body parts‚ for medical organ harvesting‚ muthi and religious rituals.

He said trafficking out of South Africa was much less than into the country.

Mbalula said the International Organisation for Migration in Pretoria says traffic-destination countries include Ireland‚ Zimbabwe‚ Israel‚ Switzerland‚ Macau and the Netherlands.

Mbalula said Mahlangu was in the care of the police.


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