15 child trafficking cases detected at OR Tambo Airport

Pretoria – Since January, the Department of Home Affairs has dealt with 15 cases of child trafficking at the OR Tambo International Airport, says Minister Malusi Gigaba.

On Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Gigaba briefed the media on three cases, which involved the attempted trafficking of eight children. Two of them were South Africans.

Two of these cases, which are still being investigated, involved the use the fraudulently acquired South African documents.

“As much as we are concerned about that, I am very happy that our system is robust enough to catch the criminals, stop them in their tracks and indicate when we cross-reference the documents with the national population register, we are able find that documents have been fraudulently obtained,” Minister Gigaba said.

He said the introduction of the live capture system for the smart ID card and the passport system can pick up irregularities.

“The cases both highlight the fact that South Africa is a country of origin, transit and destination for particularly child trafficking and so we work in this regard with various government agencies and NGOs to ensure that once the children have been rescued from those situations, they are kept in places of safety until the investigations are completed,” Minister Gigaba said.

He said immigration officers at OR Tambo International Airport are very vigilant and the systems are able to pick up any irregularities.

On Wednesday, a Nigerian man and woman were prevented from departing the country with three children with fraudulently acquired travel documents.

According to Minister Gigaba, in terms of the newly introduced visa regulations, any South African travelling with a child must produce an unabridged certificate for the child that proves a relationship between the traveller and the minor.

In a case that one parent or guardian is travelling with a child, a letter of consent from parents, permitting the individual to travel with the child, is required. The letters of consent must not be older than three months.

In the second case, a United States national, a woman, tried to leave the country with two South African children. When the woman came in the country, she was travelling with two of her own biological children.

The third case involves a woman that was transiting through South Africa to Mauritius but was refused entry in Mauritius.

“As a result of these cases, we are going to intensify our engagements with embassies in the country to deal with cases of this nature because the children in these cases were either originating from some of our neighbouring countries or were destined to some of them.

“We believe it is the responsibility of South Africa not to turn a blind eye to trafficking, especially when it involves the children being destined for another country.

“It’s our responsibility to protect those children to stop criminals in their acts, to collaborate with the countries of origin and the countries of destination to curb this scourge because it is raising enormous concern for us,” Minister Gigaba said.

He said South Africa would expect the same level of responsibility from the neighbouring countries as well. – SAnews.gov.za