The Hawks on Tuesday welcomed the sentencing of Nombuyiselo Matini, 48, to life in prison by the Uitenhage Regional Court for human trafficking.
Matini, from Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, was convicted last week on 17 counts, which include human trafficking, running a brothel, racketeering and sexual exploitation of children.
Her accomplice, Nolubabalo Mboya, 22, was sentenced to five years correctional supervision.
Acting National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata said the sentences are reflective of the hard work being done by all role players in the criminal justice system to deal with human trafficking.
“I want to sincerely congratulate the team, the prosecutors and the judiciary for the work that they put in making sure that the architect of this shocking crime is removed from the community completely.
“It is an affirmation of how close collaboration between law enforcement agencies can be very effective in combating violations of human rights,” Matakata said.
The case dates back to July 2012 when two mentally challenged girls were abducted from Kwanobhule area and taken to Fairview Race Course, where they were held captive.
The matter was reported to the local police and with the assistance of the media and community, they were located.
The Hawks’ Trafficking in Persons Task Team (TIPTT) took over investigation which led to arrest of Matini and Mboya.
Further investigations led the team to six other human trafficking victims.
According to the police, the eight victims were seduced with false promises of rewarding jobs.
Instead, the girls aged between 21 and 22 years old, were exploited and sexually abused by the men who were working at the race course.
The men would pay Matini cash and groceries to forcefully sleep with the kidnapped girls. It was established during the probe that Matini’s illegal operation dates back to 2008.
Matakata said Matini and Mboya’s conviction should serve as a warning to all human traffickers that as the Hawks they are committed to bringing justice to all those who take advantage of women and children, no matter who they are.
“We are also grateful by the greater vigilance among our communities and media partners to enable criminal prosecutions with a strong view to prevent and punish such abuses.”
The Hawks with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies are taking human trafficking cases seriously and are committed to leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that criminals are dealt with severely, she added.