Groomed Traffickers

The recent arrest of a 17 year old girl in South Africa accused of participating in a human trafficking ring is illustrative of a disturbing trend in the trade in human beings. This girl was allegedly a recruiter for a 42 year old Nigerian man who has several other criminal charges, including rape and kidnapping, against him.

As reported by, “a spokesperson for the police said: “Police received information that there were some girls being kept in a house so they acted fast as they heard these girls were about to be moved from the house.” Two police officers who were patrolling the area rushed to the premises where they found five girls. Two of them are 14 years old‚ one is 15‚ another is 17 while the oldest was 19 years old. The spokesperson went on to say that the police searched the premises and found a heap of pornographic material and they found drugs on the owner of the house. He was arrested and charged with human trafficking‚ possession of drugs and pornography. Child Protection Services was called in and the girls were taken in for medical examinations before being taken to a place of safety. Investigators are still trying to locate their parents and to determine how they got to be in the house.”

All too often victims of trafficking are led into the criminal behaviour itself, groomed by their trafficker first as a victim and then as an accomplice. In cases such as this, when a young woman or a child is apparently assisting a much older man who has a history of sexual violence and exploitation, it is important to bear in mind that there is a significant possibility of her first having been his victim. The brutality and trauma experienced by girls who are trafficked for sexual exploitation can make escaping from their tormentors extremely difficult and complex. The abuse, violence, and control can continue even as they are being put to new uses by their trafficker. It is a very challenging but essential aspect of guaranteeing justice in such cases that those who have been groomed or coerced into criminality are not punished for their own exploitation. The facts of the recent South African case are yet to be established. You can read the rest of the news report from South Africa here:

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