South African mother charged with trafficking her 6-year-old daughter who’s been missing since Feb. 19

News & Politics

A mother whose 6-year-old daughter has been missing in South Africa for almost three weeks was arrested and charged with kidnapping and selling or trafficking the girl on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. The recent revelations have sparked anger in the poor coastal area that the family is originally from.

The authorities have called on “every citizen, every person” to help find six-year-old Joslin Smith. It is feared that she could have been taken to a different city or country as part of a trafficking operation. The report noted that just days after the girl’s disappearance, neighbors in the area suggested that the mother had sold her for about $1,000.

Emotions ran high last week after the child’s clothing was found thrown away near her home. There were reportedly blood stains on the clothing and a knife nearby.

The AP stated that the girl’s mother, Kelly Smith — whose full name is Racquel Chantel Smith — has been charged with kidnapping and human trafficking. Two men and one woman have also been charged in the case.

One of the men involved in the horrifying case is Smith’s boyfriend, Jacquen Appollis. Kelly claimed that she left her daughter with Appollis on February 19 while she went to work.

The girl was reported missing that same day.

KIRO reported that 300 South African naval officers, joined by drones and dog units, have been looking for the girl.

Smith reportedly said that she believes her daughter will be found.

“My motherly instincts are telling me my daughter is still alive and in this area. We will find her, I will walk on foot to find her. I will look in every little shack, I’m going to do it by myself if I have to,” Smith said.

Prosecutors reportedly said that the four adults came up with a scheme to abduct Joslin and intentionally sold, delivered, or exchanged her, according to the AP. All the suspects in the case face life in prison if they are found guilty of the crimes.

Thembisile Patekile — the Western Cape province police commissioner — told the media that more arrests could be made in the case. But authorities have shifted their focus to finding Joslin as soon as possible.

“At this stage, we do not have a child,” Patekile said. “Our ultimate goal is to find the child. We still want to find that child alive.”

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