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Compiled by Shanice Naidoo

Digital Journalist

Suburban home in Parkhurst turned into alleged prison for 13 Ethiopians

13 Ethiopians were held captive in a suburban area north of Johannesburg.

A suburban house in Parkhurst, north of Johannesburg, is at the centre of the alleged captivity of 13 Ethiopians, some as young as 14 years old. 

The captives, who managed to escape from the three-bedroom residence, were found malnourished and injured after breaking windows and doors to break free.

The property owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was left stunned by the discovery of what he described as a “prison” within his family home, where his family have resided for more than 80 years. 

Alleged fake documents

He had been renting the house to a tenant for the past seven months through an estate agent. Police informed him that the tenant had allegedly used fake documents to secure the lease, and that the tenant had since vanished.

The captives, discovered by a security company guard from 24/7 Security, were running in different directions seeking help when they were rescued. Their escape resulted in damage to the property, including broken windows and doors. 

ALSO READ: Human trafficking in SA: Hawks raise alarm in Gauteng

The security team initially responded to a reported break-in but soon realised the gravity of the situation.

TimesLive reported that among the captives were four minors aged between 14 and 15 years. Seven individuals were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained during their escape attempts, while the minors were placed in a safe location. 

Human trafficking and smuggling

The Hawks, a specialised unit of the South African Police Service, are investigating the incident as a potential case of human trafficking or smuggling.

ALSO READ: Hawks rescue women trafficked from West Africa and ‘advertised on escort website’

The property owner, who was left shaken, recounted the unexpected turn of events, expressing the extent of the damage to his property and the disbelief that his family home had been used in such a manner. Despite renting out the property for more than a decade without any issues, this incident has left him grappling with the aftermath of the discovery.

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