Princess Mahlangu, a 24-year-old South African woman, has just been rescued from human traffickers in Malaysia following the joint operation between South African Police Service (SAPS), Hawks, Interpol and Malaysian authorities which resulted in the rescue of 14 women from 14 different countries.
Mahlangu was lured by the human trafficking syndicates with the promise of lucrative modeling contracts and great pageant prices. She landed safely at OR Tambo International Airport late on Sunday and was received by Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula and her father.
As Mbalula was at the airport he mentioned that “There has been an arrest of a Zimbabwean in Malaysia and more arrests will be made,” he added that there was also “a Nigerian national involved” in the trafficking, whom he referred to as “the coordinator”.
General Yolisa Matakata, head of the Hawks also confirmed the arrest and said they were still working with the Malaysian authorities to apprehend more suspects preying on young and vulnerable women.
As stated in The Star, Mahlangu’s close friend detailed the harrowing conversations he had with the victim after she realized she was being taken to Malaysia under false pretenses.
Mahlangu sent her friend a message using WhatsApp saying ‘I’m in trouble, can you check with the travel agency if they could move my return ticket to an earlier date’?
“I asked her what signs (of trafficking) she had picked up. She said she would talk to me when it was safe.
“I asked her to send me her (travel) itinerary,” the friend said.
The man said he told her to immediately contact the South African Embassy in Malaysia.
“Before she left, we spoke about the importance of knowing the South African embassies in the countries one is traveling to. Before she boarded the plane, she asked me to send her the embassy’s numbers.”
The friend added: “She later sent me a message that ‘this guy says we must go to a nightclub and I became suspicious because he was acting strangely’.”
The friend added that Mahlangu was introduced to the man she met in Malaysia by a woman in Bloemfontein, who posed as a director of a modeling agency or a related business.
“My friend normally enters beauty pageants and she was introduced to the guy by this woman who said she was a director. It was the first time that she had met the man in Malaysia,” the friend said.
Mahlangu’s friend said: It’s been a week of hell. I’m so relieved my friend will be back soon,” he added.
The close friend of the South African woman said she was introduced to the man she met in Malaysia by a woman in Bloemfontein, who posed as director of a modeling agency or a related business.