Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

Anti-child abuse group Teddy Bear clinic has accused police of failing to act swiftly on an alleged sex-trafficking ring said to be operating in the Johannesburg CBD.

Teddy Bear Clinic director Dr Shaheda Omar said she became aware of this when one of the children went to hospital to seek treatment for an infection over the Easter Weekend.

The child was soon after kidnapped while waiting for a place of safety when Omar says a nursing sister from the hospital was able to identify the location where the child was kept.

She was accompanied by a social worker and a security guard. They went to the police seeking assistance and were eventfully assisted by two officers who accompanied them to the place in the CBD.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Director - Teddy Bear Clinic

What is horrific about this is that this ring operates from toilets at the back of this facility and 12 children were found. Only the identified child was able to be rescued.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Director - Teddy Bear Clinic

Omar claims the police officers involved refused to assist the other 11 children, forcing her to escalate the matter to senior officials.

The concerning factor is that the officers that accompanied the team refused to go in and one of the reasons provided was that these children "enjoy the sex". Having spoken to several senior officials, they immediately informed me that they had instructed the subordinates yesterday with specific instructions to address the matter immediately.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Director - Teddy Bear Clinic

The concerning factor is that this child who was at the clinic could not have been older than 12 years.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Director - Teddy Bear Clinic

Major-General Linda acted swiftly when he learnt of the matter but we cannot comment on the other police who should have acted immediately.

Dr Shaheda Omar, Director - Teddy Bear Clinic


Police investigating Joburg child-trafficking ring claims

Gauteng police say two investigations are underway in a case involving an alleged child trafficking ring in Johannesburg.

In an interview with Joanne Joseph on Tuesday, anti-child abuse group Teddy Bear Clinic accused two officials of failing to rescue eleven children held at the back of a building in the CBD, more than a week ago.

Teddy Bear Clinic director Dr Shaheda Omar said they were made aware of the matter when a child was presented at a hospital to seek treatment for an infection over the Easter Weekend. Police managed to extract the little girl but the others were left behind.

One of the investigations will be based on the allegations that have been brought forward while the other will involve an internal probe of wrongdoing on the part of the policemen.

Brigadier Mathapelo Peters explains the proper procedure that should have been followed.

In fact they should have assisted, taken the kids for medical assistance and assisted in getting them to a place of safety.

Mathapelo Peters, Brigadier - Saps

Peters says she cannot confirm if the children have been rescued.

She says the provincial commissioner has instructed a team of detectives from the family violence, child protection and sexual offences investigations unit (FCS) to look into the sex-trafficking ring.

At this point I can't confirm but I do know that there is some work going on in relation to this case.

Mathapelo Peters, Brigadier - Saps

The district commissioner of Johannesburg is on it, as well as the provincial head of FCS.

Mathapelo Peters, Brigadier - Saps

I can only confirm that there are people that have been given tasks and instructions to look into this matter, as to how far they are in terms of executing the task, I cannot confirm but the correct thing will be done. The police will have to treat this as priority and if needs be, the Hawks will have to be brought into the picture.

Mathapelo Peters, Brigadier - Saps

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