Western Cape police are hunting a mom who allegedly sold her 13-year-old daughter as a sex slave for just US$4 a time.
The woman allegedly regularly took her little girl to bushes or outside shebeens and rented her out to men. She allegedly used the money to feed her own alcohol addiction as her little one was being raped.
The alleged abuse only came to light when the girl told one of her friends who in turn alerted their teacher. The girl is now being cared for at a shelter run by Atlantis ward councillor and abuse councillor Barbara Rass.
"I have to applaud the teacher, the silence was broken. It seems everyone knew what was going on but no one protected her… no one intervened at any point. If she didn't tell her friend and that teacher, this would have been continuing," Rass said.
On Monday, a case was formally opened with the police who are investigating a case of rape and child prostitution.
Rass – who has 35 years experience serving the community and fighting on behalf of victims of sex attacks was close to tears as she spoke of the horrific case. She said the teen told her how her mother would allegedly lure her to shebeens to have sex with old men.
"The mother would take her to the shebeen yard and say 'here is a man for you'. Or she would give her a chocolate and say 'En hier is vir jou 'n man [and here is a man for you]'. She had to go into bushes with the men while her mother would always be drinking," said Barbara.
When the Daily Voice team visited the isolated scene on Tuesday, children as young as five were walking around aimlessly and without parental guidance. Waste removal trucks chugged along the main dusty road leading out of the area which is surrounded by bush and shacks.
The traumatised teen finally ended up in the care of the police last week. But she did not disclose the abuse she has been forced to endure until she met Rass.
"She didn't want to open up and the last person who raped her was a Xhosa man. She didn't want to undress or speak, then she told me what had happened," the councillor added.
The young girl on Tuesday spoke – in the presence of her temporary guardians about the abuse she has suffered. Her skeletal frame and dark eyes hint at the awful pain she has endured. She fidgeted nervously as she revealed that she lived with her mom and stepfather, who frequently called her foul names.
"Ons het op die plaas gebly, op die tip [we lived on the farm, at the dump site]. We lived inside a hokkie (We lived in a shack)," she said as she clutched a doll. She said her stepfather called her names.
Local community leaders are demanding the arrest of the girl's mom. And they want her to point out all the perverts that paid her to have sex with her underage child.
Police sources confirmed they are hunting for the girl's mother. They are also drawing up a list of the names of the girl's alleged attackers, but so far no arrests have been made.
"The mother must be arrested and she must point out to police the men she sold her daughter to. I feel no mercy should be given to mothers who sell their own offspring. The court should deal with her like they would deal with someone who had underage sex with a minor. She was being sold for R50, this is disgusting. I want the mother to be exposed," Rass said.
Until then, Barbara's main concern is to keep the girl safe from further abuse. Police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander confirmed that a case of rape has been opened as they hunt for the girl's mother.
"The allegations of the mother accepting money for the sex attacks is being investigated. The child is in a place of safety," he said.