The Hawks are investigating a case of human trafficking after five women were held by a suspected sex trafficking ring.
Five women from Johannesburg were lured into a Durban sex trafficking scam when they were offered phony call centre jobs.
After arriving in Durban on Tuesday, March 1, the women, aged between 19 and 27, were driven from the bus terminal to a luxurious house in Durban North where they narrowly escaped from the clutches of sex trafficking operation.
Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala said the promise of a call centre job changed when the women were called in for their first meeting with the boss.
“They were informed that they were going to be involved in the sex trade business. They were instructed not to go to the front of the house where people might see them.”
Gwala said the women were kept in a dark room when they arrived.
“According to the women, the boss called them in one by one and touched them inappropriately. During the ordeal one of the ladies was able to surreptitiously use her phone to get help from the outside,” said Gwala.
This information reached the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi who led an operation to rescue the trapped women on Wednesday, March 2.
According to Gwala, the scam started when a woman in Johannesburg met a man who offered her a job working at a call centre in Durban selling sim cards. She was asked to recruit four more women for the job.
“(The man) went as far as visiting her mother explaining the legitimacy of the job offer and showing what looked like authentic documentation to back up his claims. The woman and her mother were sold on the idea and she then convinced four more women, some of which were relatives, to take up the job offer. The five women boarded a bus paid for by their prospective employers from Johannesburg on Monday, February 28,” said Gwala.
On arrival at the luxury home, one woman left immediately. The other four were rescued on Wednesday.
A case docket for human trafficking was opened and handed over to the Hawks for further investigation.