Following recent posts on social media of the past two days, the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Khehla John Sitole has highlighted the seriousness of human trafficking and other closely related crimes are dealt with by the SAPS as well as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI).
This is according to a media statement released from General Sithole’s office on Tuesday, 15 September.
The statement stated an incident that “is a stark reminder of the realities of these type of crimes.” The incident involved a man who tried to grab a four-year-old girl while under the watchful eye of her mother at a pizza shop in Florida, Johannesburg on 10 September 2020.
The suspect was charged with assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. SAPS believes that this has been a reminder to the authorities and citizens of this country of the level of vigilance needed to ensure that people are and feel safe.
“Even though human trafficking is not prevalent in South Africa as it is in other parts of the world, we must adopt a collective approach ensuring that not a single person, man, woman or child becomes a victim of this crime,” as said in the statement.
There are other areas of serious concern to the SAPS such kidnappings, abductions and missing persons. The SAPS, with other government departments, have put both proactive and reactive interventions in place to decisively deal with such cases.
SAPS encourages the public to report missing persons following a crime that may have been committed like murder, kidnapping, abduction or the missing person may have just simply run away from home.
“Whatever the circumstances, such must be reported immediately to the police and there is no waiting period for such a matter to get reported.”
The SAPS gave definitions of kidnapping and abduction to create awareness between the two. “A person is deemed kidnapped if such a person is removed against his or her consent and deprived of his or her freedom of movement for ransom.
A person is deemed abducted if such a person is removed from the custody of his or her parents for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse.
However, if such a person is under the age of 16 then the act of sexual intercourse would constitute rape.
The seriousness at which the crimes are attended to is also highlighted by which specialised unit the crime is investigated by, either DPCI (Hawks) or the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS).
The SAPS is also appealing to anyone who may have information on these crime categories, preferably before they are committed, to contact the SAPS on the Crime Stop number 086 00 10111 or via the MySAPS App, which can be downloaded on any iPhone or Andriod.
All information will be treated with strictest confidence and callers may remain anonymous.
BY Bongekile Khumalo