Hawks members have rescued seven girls after raiding a suspected brothel at a block of flats in Bloemfontein central business district (CBD) on Tuesday.

Two Ugandan nationals, aged between 24 and 27 have been arrested on suspicion of managing a brothel following the late-night raid. Police became aware of the suspected brothel on Monday from a whistleblower who claimed to know of seven girls were allegedly being forcibly detained in a flat as sex workers. An operation was planned and executed which led to the speedy rescue of the seven students from North West and Bloemfontein whose ages range between 18 and 20 years. Members of the Hawks also seized drugs (CAT and Crack Cocaine) found hidden in a bottom of a kettle, valued at R5000 as well as pornographic material.

External role players were summoned to the scene including the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health. The seven girls were taken to a place of safety where they
will receive counselling and other treatment. The suspects will appear in court on Thursday, 2015-03-05 on charges of dealing in drugs as well as possible charges in terms of the Sexual Offences Act and human trafficking.

Acting Head of the Hawks Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza applauded the closure of the brothel and commended the members for freeing the girls. “This action, first and foremost, is about protecting people who more often than not don’t even realize that they are victims. We are very aware that brothels, and prostitution in general, can lead to serious and organized crime and it is heartbreaking to find the fact that innocent girls are forced to do this type of work. We want a to send a strong message to the traffickers that they’re not going to get away with using any areas in this country to commit this appalling abuse”, Ntlemeza said.