Suspected human trafficker caught with seven kids
A Zimbabwean trucker has been charged with ill treatment of children after being caught travelling with seven school kids from his native country.
Police suspect 29-year-old Eric Mpofu had been transporting the minors, all aged between nine and 12, from Zimbabwe to South Africa, where their parents now reside.
It seems the children did not have passports and had been smuggled into Botswana by Mpofu.
The boys in blue pounced on the unsuspecting suspect in Francistown’s Bluetown location on Friday.
According to a source close to the investigations, the accused is a well known trucker and regularly transports goods between SA and Zim.
“This time around he came with the children loaded in a hilux that was carried by the truck. Apparently he has a passport but the minors do not. So when they got near the border, the minors entered the country through an ungazetted point while the accused passed by the border and met with them on the other side,” disclosed the source.
“The children had completed their schooling for the year and were being taken to Mzansi to be reunited with their parents for the holidays,” continued the source.
Sporting short, spiky dreadlocks, Mpofu was arraigned before Francistown Magistrate Court on Monday and remanded in custody.
Securing the suspect’s detainment, the Investigating Officer, Meshack Mosika told court, “Our investigations so far show the accused was in transit from Zimbabwe to South Africa. He does not have a place to stay in Botswana and does not have a job here that can keep him from fleeing.”
Mosika also pointed out the accusations against Mpofu are serious and have elements of human trafficking.
Indeed, the IO hinted the charges against the Zimbabwean could change as investigations develop.
He further revealed they are yet to liaise with the children’s parents and will need to conduct DNA tests to make sure the kids are really theirs.
Mpofu will remain behind bars until his next court appearance, set for 20 December.