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Asian nationals arrested for alleged human trafficking to face more charges

The group was detained in November last year after 91 Malawian nationals - 37 of them children - were found in a factory in Village Deep in Johannesburg.

Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Employment and Labour has requested the Johannesburg Magistrate Court to include additional criminal charges against seven Chinese nationals accused of exploiting illegal immigrants.

The group was detained in November last year after 91 Malawian nationals - 37 of them children - were found in a factory in Village Deep in Johannesburg.

Police said they were transported into South Africa in containers. The accused are alleged to have been brought to South Africa by a middleman known as “the transporter" who was still on the run.

The four men and three women would face charges ranging from human trafficking, kidnapping, and pointing of a firearm. But, they could face more charges after the department submitted a statement requesting that further criminal charges be imposed on them for contravening the labour laws.

The department’s spokesperson Teboho Thejane said: "The department is considering ensuring that they face additional charges - among others - related to other legislative frameworks like the contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety (failing to provide and maintaining a safe workplace), contravention of the Unemployment Insurance Act (by failing to provide the information of employees to the commissioner of the fund), contravention of the Unemployment Insurance Contribution (by failing to provide to the commissioner as required)."

On Wednesday, the matter was postponed to 12 February for a further bail application. The accused were remanded in custody.

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