46 women have been rescued in a room in the Johannesburg CBD, in a bust on what the police believe is a sex trafficking syndicate, EWN has reported.
Some of the women have been missing since January, and it is believed that those in charge of the syndicate had planned to ship them oversees.
The bust has sparked fears for the safety of women in the CBD, who the police have urged to be vigilant.
In an interview on Talk Radio 702, South Africa’s coordinator for Anti-Human Trafficking at Salvation army, Major Margaret Stafford, says cases like these are on the rise.
“There are a lot of people doing awareness talks… there’s a lot of awareness around human trafficking and people are starting to realise what’s going on. And I think we’re getting a lot more tip-offs and calls saying this is what’s happening.”
Stafford says that while an increase in awareness has led to some of those involved in sex trafficking syndicates being arrested, those that ‘buy’ these women are usually not brought to book.
She says that it is time authorities look at the ‘target market’, the people who are buying the sex slaves.
“We have to start looking at who is the buyer. Are they syndicates or are they private buyers? We really haven’t got a handle on all of these things yet,” she said.