Human trafficking remains a major issue in the city, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said on Thursday.
The city council’s vice squad and the Hawks’ anti-human trafficking unit have clamped down on prostitution in the CBD.
Two suspects have been arrested for prostitution and running an illegal brothel.
“Officers interviewed 12 women found at an illegal brothel in the Cape Town CBD, resulting in the arrest of two suspects – one for prostitution and the other for keeping an illegal brothel. The two suspects were detained at Cape Town Central police station,” Smith said.
Officers also issued fines of R3 000 for solicitation. Smith said women are often lured into the city under false pretences, which either promised them a job, a scholarship or a modelling contract.
“Human trafficking is an issue. It consists of young women from poor households who find themselves being lured to the cities under false pretences and then blackmailed or coerced into the sex industry.”
Many of the women were either beaten into submission or their lives or their children were threatened, Smith said.
He explained that the vice squad performed more than one operation where they had to “physically pry” the women’s children from the brothel owners.
In other situations, the men at the top of the human trafficking rings withheld the women’s passports as a mechanism of intimidation, he said.
“The vice squad found women and men lured here under false pretences. They are told of wonderful opportunities for jobs that will be given to them once they perform certain acts.
“They get hooked on drugs and eventually end up on the street. We picked them up broken and bruised and hooked on drugs. These are certain trends that we notice.”
Provincial Hawks spokesman Llyod Ramovha confirmed that the anti-human trafficking unit participated in the operation. “We are of the view that collaboration by law enforcement agencies is key to fighting crime. We all know that prostitution gives rise to human trafficking and knock-on effects such as drugs use, which is chiefly the reason behind some of the most serious crimes being committed.
“We shall continue to be part of such endeavours at all times.”[Source: Cape Argus]