Man charged with human trafficking

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Pascalinah Kabi

A 42-YEAR-OLD man who is facing human trafficking charges was remanded in custody after failing to pay a M500 fine and M30 000 surety on Monday.

Letsie Shoaepane stands accused of contravening the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2011 after luring a 20-year-old Thaba-Tseka woman with promises of a job in the Gauteng province of South Africa.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Clifford Molefe told this paper that the suspect transported the victim from Thaba-Tseka, informing her that she was going to be a domestic worker in South Africa.

“Reports how that the suspect transported the 20-year-old woman from Thaba-Tseka under fall pretences. It is reported that he informed the human trafficking survivor that he had secured employment for her at his mother’s place in Gauteng,” Supt Molefe said.

“After agreeing to travel with him, the suspect took the survivor to his home at Ha Shoaepane, Leribe where he allegedly raped her repeatedly,” he said.

Supt Molefe said the suspect further informed the victim that there was never a job offer from Gauteng and that she was going to work for him without any remuneration.

He said the suspect further stands accused of threatening to kill the woman if she reported the matter.

“The report further suggests the suspect beat the woman after seeing her talking to his neighbours, demanding that she tells him about her discussions with the neighbours,” he said.

He said the man will reappear in court on 23 December.

He said this was one of the cruel criminal acts where the victim is denied their basic human rights of free movement, freedom of association and that this entailed different types of abuse.

According to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2011, human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, legal and illegal adoption, sale, supply or receipt of persons within and across the borders of Lesotho.

The act says this is done by means of threats, force or other means of coercion, abduction, kidnapping, fraud or deception, the abuse of power, law or legal process or a position of vulnerability or debt bondage.

According to the United Nations’ 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report on Lesotho, Lesotho continues to be a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking and for men subjected to forced labour.

“In Lesotho, Basotho children are subjected to domestic servitude and forced labour in animal herding; children, especially orphans who migrate to urban areas, increasingly are subjected to sex trafficking.

“Basotho women and girls seeking work in domestic service voluntarily migrate to South Africa, where some are detained in prison-like conditions or exploited in sex trafficking,” reads part of the report.

The report further states that some Basotho men who migrate voluntarily, although illegally and often without identity documents, to South Africa for work in agriculture and mining become victims of forced labour; working for weeks or months before their employers turn them over to South African authorities for deportation for immigration violations to avoid paying them.

It further states that foreign nationals, including Chinese, subject their compatriots to sex trafficking in Lesotho.

The report also states that government had not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; making significant efforts to do so.

“The government made progress in the prosecution and protection, including instituting new systems to build capacity for improvement in these areas.

“The government convicted a sex trafficker and sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment (10 years suspended), identified more potential trafficking victims, issued implementing regulations for the 2011 anti-trafficking act.

“Government signed an agreement with South Africa aimed at increasing protection for Basotho workers employed there, and established a multi-agency taskforce to coordinate the investigation of trafficking cases.”

It however said despite all these measures, the Lesotho’s anti-trafficking law still does not comply with international law, and that government did not provide funding for the Victims of Trafficking Trust Fund or sufficient resources for anti-trafficking law enforcement and protection efforts.

It said Lesotho continued to rely on non-governmental organisations to assist trafficking victims.

“Jurisdictional issues in the courts continued to impede trafficking prosecutions.”

Meanwhile, 34-year-old man was sentenced to two years imprisonment after he was found guilty of fraudulently using a deceased man’s driving licence.

The man, Itumeleng Sekonyana of Ha Ntsi, Nazareth, appeared in court on 3 December and was jailed after failing to pay a M2000 fine.

Police spokesperson Supt Molefe applauded members of the public for tipping the police about the case.

He said Sekonyana’s imprisonment came after members of the public informed the police that Mr Sekonyana was using a drivers’ license and public belonging to Thabang Khoeli, who is long deceased.

 

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