As the festive season draws near, private investigator Mike Bolhuis has urged travelers to be positively paranoid, as they plan their holiday itinerary.
The warning comes as young people usually go missing during this time, which he says, is because human traffickers are usually out on the hunt for their next victim.
The private investigator has urged parents and guardians to make use of apps such as FIND ME, which track your travel with GPS.
He is also calling on young people to reconsider not sharing much information with their parents when going on night outs.
The private investigator says human trafficking is a big, lucrative industry in South Africa. Some of those kidnapped, he says, end up being sold into either the sex or drug industry. In the worst case scenario, some get killed and their body parts sold.
However, he says, the public hardly hears about the cases. He cites extreme intimidation and threats by the criminals as reasons for families not speaking out about the scourge.
And with the looming holiday season, Bolhuis says young people should be weary of the strangers they trust, especially if they look easy on the eyes.
The concern by Bolhuis comes as the family of 21-year-old Zinhle Khuzwayo, who went missing last week, recently revealed that her kidnappers have now threatened to sell her to human traffickers unless the parents pay a ransom of R100 000.
The young woman went missing after she went to the Verulam town centre for a supposed job interview.
Bolhuis says it is concerning how no one is safe from the human traffickers as the criminals are no longer just targeting girls and women. They are now also on the prowl for boys and older people.
Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa