28/12/2016 18:24 SAST | Updated 29/12/2016 06:09 SAST

Hawks: Young Women Are Lured From Rural Areas To The City To Become Sex Slaves

Parents are urged to monitor children’s electronic gadgets to ensure their children don’t become victims.

REUTERS/Tom Esslemont
Nigerian ex-prostitute "Beauty" (a pseudonym), at a social support centre for trafficked girls near Catania in Italy in September.

The emergence of brothels throughout the country has led to young women being lured from the rural areas to the big cities with promises of lucrative jobs only to be turned into sex slaves.

The Hawks police unit warned of the trend which was uncovered through the fight against human trafficking. Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi urged parents to be vigilant and to keep an eye on their children's electronic devices to ensure they don't become victims.

"We are alerting parents and communities about issues of human trafficking, issues of brothels that we have now uncovered. We are seeing children moving from rural areas and brought to urban areas then forced into sex trade," he said.

"A new trend is developing where parents buy children gadgets but they don't monitor them. The predators also use the very same gadgets and are able to hack into them to entice them with jobs to lure them to their operations," Mulaudzi warned.

In recent months the elite crime-fighting unit has unearthed and shut down brothels throughout the country. Earlier in December the Hawks shut down a brothel in Kimberly, which had been operating for two years in the upmarket area of Royldene.

After a tip-off, the Hawks closed down a brothel in Klerksdorp and 26 women aged from 14 to 37 were rescued; police found 19 men on the premises.

Mulaudzi appealed to parents to ensure they know what is going on with their children's electronic life.

"Parents are buying the gadgets over the festive season and we want them to be aware of the dangers," he said. "We have one billion people using the internet at one time, so it's critical that we spread this message during the festive season when they're very active and we ensure our children are safe all the time."