South Africa, Johannesburg – Free State police are on a manhunt for foreign nationals who allegedly lured teenagers from their homes in Phuthaditjhaba and use them as prostitutes.
The girls were found outside a tavern in Sasolburg on Wednesday. The teenagers’ kidnappers were allegedly assisted by their 16-year-old friend, who has since been arrested.
Free State police spokesperson, Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, said the three teenagers were reported missing on November 20, 2020.
That was after they were last seen between 2 pm and 3 pm at a house in Mantsubise Street, Phuthaditjhaba, wearing school uniforms.
“A few days ago, they were seen posting their images on Facebook. Their school uniforms were found thrown in the dust bin of one of the victim’s houses at Mantsubise Street which is clear that they left those school uniforms deliberately.”
Makhele said the Phuthaditjhaba Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences unit, launched a search which led them to a tavern in Sasolburg, where the teenagers were later found and reunited with their families.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that the girls were lured from their homes and used for prostitution by unknown foreign males.
“Further investigations led officers to the same area in Zamdela where the third girl, aged 16, was found and arrested after it emerged that she allegedly solicited the kidnapping of the other two girls.
“She will appear in the Phuthaditjhaba Magistrate court on Monday, December 7 on a charge of human trafficking.
“Police are pleading to anyone who might have information to contact Lieutenant Colonel Lekhaoli Thito on 082 414 9736 or Capt Thabiso Moholo on 083 750 5366 Investigation continues to try and trace the kidnappers,” Makhele said.
Police said the teenagers were to be moved to another area to work as prostitutes.