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SA Interpol, Hawks and Malaysian police rescue 9 women in joint operation

Media Statement from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) Hawks

WESTERN CAPE – Nine alleged sex trafficking victims were rescued on Friday and one suspect arrested in a joint sting operation by the Hawks, South African Interpol and the Malaysian Police.

The women, one who is South African and the other eight from different parts of the world were allegedly trafficked to Malaysia last week Saturday after they responded to take part in a beauty pageant in Kuala Lumpur.

Upon arrival they were informed by their handler that the show has been cancelled and they were held hostage in a hotel room.  The 27 year old victim managed to make a frantic phone call to her brother who then contacted Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Minister Mbalula referred the matter to the authorities and the Hawks immediately took a leading role in the case.

The hawks contacted Interpol who in turn contacted the Malaysian counterparts. The Malaysian police accompanied by their anti-human trafficking unit swooped into the hotel and fortunately managed to rescue the desperate ladies.

One of the victims was used to lure the accused back to the hotel in pretence that she was not feeling well and required immediate medical attention.  The accused who is from Zimbabwe was arrested and is currently in custody in Malayasia.  It is understood that the ladies were going to be smuggled to different parts of the world for sex trafficking.

All the victims were taken to a safe place and the South African embassy in Malaysia took her in to their care.  Preparations have been made for the other girls to be flown home.

Meanwhile, Minister Mbalula has personally paid for the 27 year old South African’s flight home and she is expected to land at OR Tambo International Airport tomorrow evening.

The Acting Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata has congratulated Brigadier Scott Naidoo and his Interpol Team for their swift response in rescuing the victims.

“We can only imagine what could have happened to the ladies if they were not rescued in time.  This case cements our enhanced partnerships and as a result of this operation, we hope to build a lasting framework that helps the world community to address this scourge.

“The role played by Brigadier Naidoo, one of the 11 members that represent the 190 Interpol members, is an excellent example of the effectiveness of his leadership in the Global Law Enforcement community to address and prioritise cases of human trafficking that target the most venerable of our communities.  Interpol South Africa is a highly respected and recognised agency amongst the international law enforcement community.

“I would have failed in my duties if I do not reiterate my concern to our communities to be mindful of these flamboyant internet enticements.   Human trafficking must be defeated and I would like to urge parents and the rest of our communities to be wary of friendly empathic strangers who entice people with job and education opportunities. Everyone must take a leading role and take responsibility of the actions. Our children are our future we must protect them jealously and I would to urge all parents to take a leading role to protect them,” said Lieutenant General Matakata.


Media Enquiries:

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi

Mobile: 082 373 2408