• The girl is now 13 years old and has Down's Syndrome 
  • A 15-year-old boy was also rescued from the trio
  • The boy told police that he was sold for $32.25

In a shocking case of human trafficking, a woman has been arrested for selling her differently-abled teenage daughter to two shopkeepers for sex.

A special crime unit of the South African police, which had been investigating the matter, arrested the mother and two other men from the Eastern Cape province Wednesday, News 24 reported.

Police also rescued a 15-year-old boy, who was also trafficked for sexual exploitation, from the trio.

A senior police official said the 42-year-old unidentified woman sold her daughter in 2019 when the girl was just 11. Ever since, she was continuously abused by the two men, both shopkeepers.

The girl is 13-year-old now and has Down's Syndrome. "It is alleged that during the period between February 2019 to March 2021, the arrested female, who is the mother of the girl, sold her daughter and another 15-year-old boy to the suspects who are shopkeepers at Keiskamahoek area for sexual exploitation," South African Police Service spokesperson Capt. Yolisa Mgolodela told News 24.

He added that though the girl could not provide the investigation team any details regarding the sale or the sexual abuse, the boy told the officers that he was "brought" by the shopkeeper for 450 rands ($32.25).

The special unit, called the East London Hawks, began the investigation after the team got a tip-off about the human trafficking incident.

Mgolodela said the suspects will appear before a local court on Friday. They face charges of trafficking in persons, The South African reported.

South Africa is considered a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking, with girls more likely to be trafficked for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.

Last month, seven Chinese nationals went on trial in the country on charges of human trafficking. It was alleged that the group ran an illegal enterprise that indulged in trafficking people, including children. Police said they trafficked undocumented migrants to forced labor in factories in the country from 2017 till their arrest in 2019. A police raid was conducted and 91 people, including many children, from the African nation of Malawi, were found in a factory.

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