Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE Ministry of Home Affairs is working with taxi associations in South Africa to help identify people being trafficked across the border. The ministry believes the taxi operators could help curb human trafficking because their vehicles are used to ferry victims.
Home Affairs Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa held an indaba with the Manyatseng Taxi Association, based in the border town of Ladybrand, at the Maseru Bridge yesterday.
Speaking at their event the Manyatseng Taxi Association spokesman, Thabiso Pitso, said sometimes they get cases of children who are trafficked to South Africa in their taxis.
“We used to hand them over to the police,” Pitso said. Pitso said the traffickers are now using private cars to collect their victims.
“We usually trace victims when their cases are reported,” he said. Pitso said some Basotho women are taken to Gauteng where they are forced to engage in prostitution.
He also said in Welkom, the mining town in the Free State, young men are lured with promises of genuine jobs but are forced to illegally work in unused mine shafts”.
“They are taken to the illegal mines where they work hard and at the end, they are killed in the shaft with gas,” Pitso said.
“Some are killed and their parts like kidneys sold out to Sangomas,” he said. Pitso promised to give the Home Affairs Minister monthly reports.
“We pledge to work hard in ensuring that the people who cross are not being trafficked.
” Letsosa said it requires collaboration to end human trafficking. Letsosa said the taxi associations should make it their responsibility to ensure that their passengers are not being trafficked.
“You should ask your passengers where they are heading to,” Letsosa said. He added that all suspicious victims must be handed over to the police so that they are returned home.
He said hiking is also dangerous as some criminals use it as bait to catch their victims, adding that the issue of private cars taking people should also be closely inspected.
“Basotho should understand that it is wrong to hike,” he said. He said the collaboration between the ministry and the association will help combat human trafficking.
He talked about the issue of trucks that some drivers take Basotho women and rape them there every day. He promised to hold meetings with all the stakeholders so that they get reports. He also said most people they arrest at the airport are using Lesotho as a corridor to South Africa.