26 arrested in Limpopo human trafficking bust

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Twenty-six people, including suspected victims of human trafficking, have been arrested at Mooketsi outside Tzaneen in Limpopo.

Police spokesperson Hlulani Mashaba confirmed the arrests, revealing that one of the suspects, believed to be the driver of a minibus taxi transporting undocumented foreign nationals, managed to escape capture using a get-away vehicle.

Mashaba disclosed that a substantial amount of cash and multiple cross-border permits were seized from a separate vehicle that had arrived at the Bolobedu police station, demanding the release of one of the suspects under the guise of him being a hitchhiker.

The spokesperson stated that all the suspects, including the undocumented foreign nationals, will face charges related to human trafficking, money laundering, and illegal residence in the country.

“Upon arriving at the scene, the police discovered two South African male suspects, including a driver and his accomplice, along with twenty-three Somali nationals. During the operation, a gold Volkswagen Golf abruptly arrived at the scene and enabled the driver of the minibus taxi, who had been apprehended, to escape in the Golf, evading arrest,” says Mashaba.

Further investigation led to the discovery of 64 cross-border permits in the Toyota Quantum that was initially stopped by the authorities. In response to the suspect’s escape, law enforcement agencies have initiated a comprehensive manhunt to locate the individual responsible for the human trafficking activities. Police discovered 64 cross-border permits in the Toyota Quantum.

South Africa identified as the source, transit point and destination for human trafficking: