The news that a 13-year-old South African girl sold nude photographs of herself at $17 each via the instant messaging service MXit, had local police rush out an awareness campaign about its dangers. Teens are often recruited like this by sex-slavery gangs
The local MXit messaging service has 12-million users. And, said the girl, many of her female friends were doing the same thing. ..
South African police inspector Ryno Louw of the Unit for Organised Crime said the girl had run a very real risk of falling prey to a sex-slavery syndicate. He said dozens of teens have already disappeared in South Africa after arranging meetings via MXit - but was unable to provide an exact number.
Nigerian sex-slavery syndicates
For young subteens, South Africa has become one of the most dangerous places on earth. The children need to be guarded night and day: for they not only face being gang raped by the notorious 'jackrolling' armed rape-gangs the country has become infamous for, see , and see .
South Africa, with its modern shipping infrastructure and banking system, also has over this past decade, become an important hub in the murky, international sex-slavery trade, run mainly by Nigerian crime-gangs from greater Johannesburg. Recently several Nigerian sex-slavery gangs were arrested and the proceeds of their criminal activities confiscated in The Netherlands, which has decided to crack down hard on such activities in the red-light prostitution district in Amsterdam. About a dozen girls were released from sexual bondage during this raid alone.
Louw said that the girl had never told her buyer about her location: but the buyer, a man from Johannesburg, told her she was in KwaZulu-Natal province. And in turn, that's only possible if you have contacts in the cellphone industry, Louw warned. The South African police has tangled with MXit before, accusing it of cooperating with criminal gangs. They are denying it vehemently. See
After the man had paid her $17 per photograph, he wanted to make arrangements to meet her, Louw said.
Her mother was alert: she apparently saw the little girl trying to surreptitiously erace messages from her cellphone and then found out what was going on. The mother contacted the police.
Coerced into producing porn
Louw said it sounds as if it had been going on for a while. The girl knew she was communicating with an adult from Johannesburg, but he coerced her into producing pornography somehow.
The police warn parents to ensure that their children are not communicating with strangers on the popular South African social networking service.
MXit vehemently denies that it ever helps criminals, on the contrary, 'MXit has helped authorities track down criminals on several occasions. The amount of enquiries we get from criminals is nothing compared to the number of users we have.”
"We accept our users’ registration information in good faith and would not know if someone was a criminal. And even if we did, obviously we would report them to the police immediately and certainly not give them any user information.
"By law, we are not at liberty to divulge any personal/user information. If we did, we would be in contravention of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 (“PAIA”) of 2000."
They said they were 'committed to ensuring the safety of their 12 million users, but technological advances shouldn't be blamed for incidents like this.' seeFor our previous stories on Durbansee here and also here