The police have refuted such information as false claims.
A growing number of women, most of them parents of teenage girls, told Kathorus MAIL they are living in fear. They are afraid their children will become victims of kidnappings and human trafficking.
Some of the women cited several incidents which they claim were reported in both the print media and on television, therefore placing doubt if it is indeed fake news.
One such incident reported was about a group of undocumented young children intercepted by police while in transit in the North West province.
The women believe the police should be investigating all kidnapping and human trafficking claims.
“Not every such claim is a figment of the imagination of a paranoid female,” said Magdeline Tsipanyana, a grandmother of two teenagers from Moleleki Section in Katlehong.
A media statement issued by Mathapelo Pete, SAPS provincial spokesperson, warned that false messages about kidnapping and human trafficking spread unnecessary panic among communities.
She explained many of the claims have turned out to be false when followed up by detectives.
“In some instances, members of the public have taken to mainstream media with allegations of human trafficking and kidnapping, claiming to know the victims or to have witnessed such incidents. “However, when police reach out to determine specific incidents or police stations for the purposes of further investigation, no such detail can be provided by the same people,” Peters explained.
Some residents, approached randomly by Kathorus MAIL, said they suspected some of the reports on social media may have been hyped.
“Everything I know about kidnapping and human trafficking is based on what I read in the newspapers or see on television. However, it cannot all be fake when there have been actual reports of the police arresting suspects in some of these cases,” said Gabriel Bottoman, a father of four from Extension 25 in Vosloorus.
Getrude Hlatshwayo of Phumula Gardens said she has seen several videos of young women being attacked by strangers in locations around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“Luckily, by the grace of God, the victims escaped while their attackers were distracted,” recalled Hlatshwayo, who is concerned the police are downplaying the severity of the problem.
Theresa Kgoele, a mother of two from of Mailula Park, admitted being paranoid and living in constant fear of human traffickers.
“There is no smoke without fire. Go to Hillbrow, Kensington and Rosettenville in the south of Johannesburg and ask all those prostitutes lining the streets how they became sex workers,” Kgoele said.
She argued that a majority of prostitutes are often victims of trafficking.
Kamogelo Motlobatsi, from Spruitview and a second-year student at the University of Johannesburg Soweto campus, said the human trafficking saga is nerve-wracking.
“I do not trust anyone. I keep my distance and never speak to strangers.”