Wed, 10 Aug 2022

News24 previously reported the accused were initially denied bail on 20 March this year but then brought a fresh application based on new facts.

They were arrested for allegedly running an illegal enterprise called Beautiful City Pty Ltd in Village Deep, Johannesburg, where it is claimed they were trafficking illegal immigrants into South Africa and subjecting them to forced labour.

An operation was conducted by department's Inspection and Enforcement Services branch in Gauteng together with the police, Department of Home Affairs and Hawks late last year which led to the arrest of the seven Chinese nationals.

READ | Another delay in bail application for Chinese nationals accused of human trafficking

During the operation, 91 Malawian nationals were allegedly found in the factory, 37 of them children, labour department spokesperson Teboho Thejane said.

During the bail hearing the court heard the Malawians working in the Chinese factory were transported to South Africa in containers.

The Malawians are alleged to have been brought to South Africa by a middleman known as "the transporter" who is still on the run.

"The Chinese factory was allegedly processing the inner cotton of blankets using recycled clothing," the department said at the time.

"It is alleged that the company's operations were carried out behind closed high steel gates with access strictly controlled by employers. Workers were also allegedly exposed to appalling working conditions without adhering to occupational health and safety."

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