Trafficking case in court

2012-02-25 00:00

THE state has withdrawn charges against a 59-year- old Durban woman accused of human trafficking and keeping a brothel, while three other people were remanded in custody until a bail application next month.

Prosecutor Val Daffol told the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday that they withdrew charges against Urmila Budram, who was arrested with Nonduzo “Bhe” Dlamini (23), Bhabha Dubazini (29) and Sandile Patric Zweni (37) last weekend.

Sixteen girls, eight of them minors, were rescued from a building in the Point area in Durban.

Some of the girls were as young as 12 and some were allegedly under the influence of drugs when they were rescued.

The three told the court that they will instruct their private attorneys and they were remanded in custody until their formal bail application on March 20.

They are facing charges of dealing in crack cocaine, human trafficking, keeping a brothel, living on the earnings of prostitution, and facilitating prostitution, sexual exploitation of children and money laundering.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Natasha Ram­kisson said it was premature for the state to say why the charges were withdrawn against Budram, but they will oppose bail against the other three.

Chair of the legislature’s women’s caucus, Makhoni Ntuli, condemned human trafficking and the smuggling of girls as sex slaves. “We will campaign for the harshest sentences to be handed down to those convicted of this barbaric act,” she said.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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