Teacher arrested for trafficking students

MASERU –— A high school teacher in Lithabaneng has been arrested for allegedly trafficking three of her female students to Bloemfontein where they were forced into marriages.

The three students are aged between the ages of 22 and 24.

The teacher, Joalane Tšooana, appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court last Wednesday to answer charges of violating the Anti-Trafficking Act of 2011.

The police said Tšooana, 43, allegedly convinced the women on different occasions that she had found jobs for them in Bloemfontein.

Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said the matter came to light when one of the women was reported missing by her parents.

Masupha said the woman was found in Bloemfontein during police investigations.

“Two more girls from Lesotho were also found during a police search,” he said.

Masupha said the women were forced to marry men they did not know and when they resisted they were threatened by Tšooana and her associates.

He said the three could however not escape because they did not have passports.

Masupha said they suspect more girls could have been trafficked by Tšooana.

Tšooana was released last Wednesday after paying M10 000 bail. She is expected back in court soon.

Masupha said the women were released into the custody of their parents after attending counselling sessions.

He said both female and male Basotho were being targeted for trafficking for different purposes.

“Herdboys are being trafficked to the Eastern Cape where they are being forced to work for years without payment.

“They are kept there without being given food or money. When they ask their employers to pay them so that they can buy food they are told that payments were given to the person who transported them there.”

Masupha also added that doctors from East Africa were reportedly trafficking people to get their kidneys that they sell for huge sums of money.

“They first befriend their victims and encourage them to donate their blood so that they can know their blood group.

“Later they will tell them that they have found a better paying job for them. The victims will then be trafficked,’ Masupha said.

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