Following an alleged soccer scam that left five young boys from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has warned parents to be extra vigilant, and to be aware of child traffickers using deceptive means to potentially abduct and traffic children.
According to the department, the five boys were recruited and deceived into travelling to Cape Town under the impression of having secured places at a top soccer club’s training academy.
“Four of the boys are under 18 years of age, and the fifth is 19 years old. As per the Children’s Act of 2005, the Department has placed the minors in a Child & Youth Care Centre (CYCC), and the 19-year-old is being assisted with shelter and care by the department’s Human Trafficking Unit,” said the department in a statement.
“Our priority as DSD is to get the boys back home safely, and we are currently working on transporting the boys back home in conjunction with the parents and our DSD colleagues in KZN.”
“This situation will thankfully have a positive outcome as the boys evaded being exploited by the scammers who lured them from their homes.”
According to DSD, human trafficking statistics are difficult to come by, however, the latest United States Trafficking in Persons annual report cited that in 2015 there were 41 cases in South Africa.
“The Department has viewed this incident in a serious light, and our social workers will continue to investigate the circumstances around this case.”