The women and girls explained they came to South Africa believing they would receive employment, but ended up being kept in a backroom.

A 28-year-old woman is facing charges of human trafficking after eight undocumented women and girls from Lesotho were found in her backroom.

The woman – whose name is known to The Citizen but will not be published until she has pleaded – appeared before the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

ALSO READ: Two women rescued and six men arrested in Joburg human trafficking bust

“It is alleged that on Friday, 16 February 2024, the complainant – a police officer who holds the rank of a constable – was stopped by members of the community [who] informed him about a backroom at a nearby house where foreign nationals were kept,” a media statement from the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) reads.

“The officer went to the said premises where he found eight females of different ages.  While the officer was interviewing the females, they revealed that they were brought from Lesotho to Palm Ridge.”

It was found that the suspect, now the accused, ran an employment agency and advertised her services on the Internet.

“The females further explained that they all had to pay an amount of R5 000 for employment in South Africa. All victims stay in one room which is rented by the suspect and have been living there for 10 days.”

When the accused was called to the scene she could not produce documents to prove she was a legal labour broker.

“She… was also in possession of 20 Lesotho passports of which she could not explain why they were in her possession. The suspect was arrested and the matter was postponed to Monday, 28 February for legal aid.”

The women and girls were taken to a place of safety after undergoing medical assessments.    

Suburban prison for 13 Ethiopians

This comes just a week after it was found 13 Ethiopians were being held against their will at a suburban house in Parkhurst, north of Johannesburg.

The captives, who managed to escape from the three-bedroom residence, were found malnourished and injured after breaking windows and doors to free themselves.

The property owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was left stunned by the discovery of what he described as a “prison” within his family home, where his family have resided at for more than 80 years. 

ALSO READ: Suburban home in Parkhurst turned into alleged prison for 13 Ethiopians


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