Mbalula ‘delighted’ to welcome home victim of human trafficking scam

The police minister said the incident could be linked to cybercrime, as Facebook was used to lure the woman.

A Free State woman Princess Mahlangu, 24, who was a victim of a human trafficking scam, has returned safely to South Africa.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said during a press briefing at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday that they were “delighted” to welcome her home safely.

Mahlangu was one of many from around the world who had entered a supposed beauty contest in Malaysia through Facebook, but when she arrived in the country, there was no such competition.

Mbalula said the woman met people “with the intention to traffick her”.

“Facebook was the main entry point for these beautiful young women. It makes this a potential cybercrime as well,” he said.

“I am happy to report that our efforts to bring our girl home led to all the other potential victims being freed.”

Mbalula explained that the process to rescue Mahlangu began when someone who knew her alerted the police ministry who then contacted Interpol and the Hawks to help. The South African Embassy in Malaysia was also activated, Mbalula said.

One suspect had been arrested so far, the minister said, adding that more arrests in South Africa and throughout the world could be made in the next few days.

Mbalula said: “The trafficking syndicates are very well organised.”

He added that they had criminal networks that could provide victims with travel documents and visas.

“There is a link between human trafficking and narcotics trafficking, ” he said.

Addressing Mahlangu, he said: “We are delighted to have you back home; remember, you did nothing wrong.”

He further encouraged her to use her experience to spread the news of the dangers of the internet.

“One victim is one too many,” said the minister.



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