27 July 2016

Pretoria – The Department of Home Affairs has welcomed the arrest of three people in Rustenburg, North West, on charges of human trafficking following the rescue of 57 Malawian children and young adults by police officers, over the weekend.

The vigilance of the South African Police Services in this regard is commendable. It goes to show why the department has all along raised alarm about this heinous crime calling on all to support government’s efforts to combat it, for the sake of the vulnerable, especially children, who are likely to fall victim to unscrupulous people.

The documentation of children may be perceived by some as unimportant and inconvenient however it plays a critical part in giving children identity and the rights that come with it. Those who are privy to the modus operandi in modern slavery and human trafficking know that documentation, or lack thereof, is where exploitation begins.

Birth certificates that share with officials the legal guardianship of a child should not be undermined. They play a critical role in eliminating possibilities for our ports of entry to be negligent or implicit in child trafficking.

Government at large cannot make it easy for those who partake in this inhumane criminal enterprise.

Home Affairs will continue to work relentlessly with other law enforcement authorities in combating human trafficking and other contravention of South Africa’s immigration law.

The department has recently announced several measures to improve the management of movement into and out of the country, including the establishment of a Border Management Agency and the launch of the Green Paper on International Migration, which should lead to the development of a more comprehensive policy. As it modernises its systems and processes, Home Affairs will continue to support the improvement of security and safety of citizens and other nationals in the country.

The three undocumented persons were arrested after the truck they were driving in was pulled over by two police constables who were on routine patrol duty, and found on inspection, 57 people, including children, from Malawi, in the truck.

For media enquiries contact Thabo Mokgola on 060 962 4982 or Mayihlome Tshwete