Gauteng police have rescued a 13-year-old girl after her stepmother and step grandmother allegedly tried to sell her for R40 million to a human trafficking and sex syndicate in Heidelberg.
The rescue on Tuesday involved the Hawks' Serious Corruption and Organised Crime Investigation teams in the Vaal Rand, the Vanderbijlpark police's task team for serious and violent crimes and the Family Violence and Sexual Offences Unit in the Vaal Rand.
"A waylay investigation was put in motion, and the joint police team seized the R30 000 entrapment cash and electronic gadgets for further investigation. The rescued minor was taken to a place of safety," Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said.
The stepmother and step grandmother, aged 36 and 57, were arrested for trafficking in persons, conspiracy to sell a minor for sexual exploitation, abduction and theft of a child.
They are expected to appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
The head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in Gauteng, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, praised police for their swift action.
"What is rather disturbing with this situation is that family members were found to be involved in the alleged crime committed against their own. Setting up an operation of this magnitude shows bravery, and we applaud the investigation team for executing it without anyone being harmed, and the child was rescued safely," Kadwa said.
He added that police successfully dismantled several illegal brothels in the Vaal Rand in the past few months where police officers were arrested for human trafficking-related allegations.