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‘Teacher uncovers child sex trafficking ring in grade-1 class’

child sex trafficking
  • When this Western Cape primary school teacher believed that one of her grade one students was being sexually abused, she did everything she could to help, little did she know the student was a child sex trafficking victim, Bekisisa reports.
  • Finally, she and her colleagues discovered that many of the youngsters in their school were involved in a child sex trafficking ring.
  • The instructor claims that the school, social workers, and police failed these children in this story from our #SliceofLife series. #SliceofLife tales are brief first-person accounts of some of the people we interview.

“It was a Wednesday in 2019, and one of the little girls in my grade one class walked in smelling like sex.

“As an adult, you just know.

“It’s the odor you get when you haven’t cleansed your hands after intercourse. A baby shouldn’t smell like that.

“The kids seated around her were moaning about it. When I spoke with her after class, she insisted everything was OK.

“The next day, her sister (who is in a separate class) couldn’t sit down. When a coworker asked why she was standing during the session, she explained that her vagina was painful.

“We inquired who was hurting them, but we couldn’t understand them. They’re from Zimbabwe, and their English isn’t that excellent.

“We called social services, but they didn’t come straight away so we had to let the girls go home with their father’s cousin, who picked them up from school each day.

“That was on Thursday.”

Child sex trafficking ring

We refused to let the children leave when the social workers did not arrive by Friday. We waited with them at school until 5 p.m., waiting for social services to arrive.

“We attempted to contact their parents, but they were both working in Zimbabwe. We couldn’t get in touch with them.

“When the uncle arrived at the school, he requested that the children be released. He went to the police station to report that the school was illegally detaining the girls.

“Because he’s their legal guardian, and because social services hadn’t investigated, we had to let them go.

“Later that evening, social services went to the address where they were staying.

“But no one was there. The children had vanished. The residence, according to the neighbors, was empty on Friday.

“We issued notices and searched for those girls everywhere.

“But, we couldn’t find them for another four days since they were residing in a different residence.

READ MORE: Child prostitution madam Gerhard Ackerman intends to tell the truth

“There were more students from our school living there. Guys would come to the house and hire a room — and a body.

“It turned out that the father’s cousin was the mastermind behind the whole child sex trafficking operation, but there were so many other individuals involved.

“The children were brought to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Doctors discovered evidence of sexual abuse.

“Kids were placed in protective custody, and legal action was filed against their father’s cousin who was the mastermind of the child sex trafficking ring, who just fled.

“I left the school after that.

“I just had the impression that nobody cared. The principal basically kept insisting there was nothing we could do.

“It was the instructors who had to battle for the youngsters. I considered taking these youngsters home with me, even if it meant going to jail.

“The school failed, the cops failed, and the social workers failed.

“Nobody cared that there was a place in Parklands where you could hire a room and a baby for the night.”

Bridgette August* is a primary school teacher in Cape Town. She spoke with Bhekisisa reporter Nicole Ludolph on the condition of anonymity due to threats from the trafficker and to protect the two girls. Her true identity is known to the Centre.

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