Fifteen of the 22 people rescued from a suspected human trafficking operation in the township of Irene, south of Pretoria, last week have been taken to a place of safety.
Police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza said: “The department of social development has taken 15 of those rescued to a place of safety, and the remaining seven have been arrested for being undocumented.”
Meanwhile, the 38-year-old man who was driving the bakkie carrying the 22 people will appear in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Monday on a charge of human trafficking, Rekord Centurion reported.
“We cannot tell at this stage from which country he is from, but we will be working with home affairs to establish that,” said Kweza.
The driver of the bakkie was pulled over at about noon at a roadblock on the R21 near Irene last Thursday and was arrested when it was discovered he had falsified documents.
The bakkie was carrying 15 children and seven adults.
“The children are aged between two months and 18 years, and the adults between 20 and 44 years old,” said Kweza.
When the driver was questioned, he said he was transporting the people to Tembisa.
Kweza said police would also look into the possibility of a human trafficking syndicate operating between Pretoria and Tembisa.
“A possibility of an involvement of a syndicate would also be investigated, as similar cases were picked up in various areas recently.”
Police said possibility of further charges could be added on as time goes on.
– Caxton News Service