Human traffickers sentenced

2015-07-23 06:00
PHOTO: candyce krishna

Veeran Palan and Edwina Noris after being sentenced.

PHOTO: candyce krishna Veeran Palan and Edwina Noris after being sentenced.

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TWO people were sentenced in the first human trafficking case heard at Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Magistrate Johan Bester sentenced Veeran Palan and Edwina Noris to 10 and six years behind bars respectively.

They faced several charges related to the Sexual Offences Act.

Palan and Noris made two Capetonian women an offer of employment in Margate in June 2013.

When they arrived in Port Shepstone by bus on the Friday, Palan told them they would have to sleep with men to pay back him back for their bus tickets.

The incident took place over a weekend at a house in Oslo Beach, which Palan intended turning into a brothel.

One of the woman notified her mother via SMS and then managed to contact police when Noris took her and the other complainant to a bar in Margate on the Sunday.

Palan’s attorney, Larry Seethal, told the court that his client was a first time offender and was not in good health.

“The women were not asked to sell and consume drugs. They were not asked to be involved in pornography and other acts that other human trafficking cases entailed,” said Seethal.

He also told the court to take into consideration that both women, in their late twenties, had four and five children each, one of whom was 12 years old.

He said it meant they had been sexually active from a young age.

Norris’s attorney, Percival Hlubi, said Noris was fighting breast cancer and was asthmatic and had already served 18 months behind bars. He asked that the court take these factors into consideration.

State advocate Val Defel said human trafficking was regarded as modern-day slavery and that the court should not be lenient with sentencing even though the events had taken place over a weekend.

She said the crime ruthlessly exploits women, children and men and that 29.9 million people were victims of this slavery worldwide.

“Because the women had conceived children from a young age, it does not mean they are not entitled to their dignity,” said Defel.

She said the crime was premeditated so that Palan could gain financially.

Bester said although the women had been left traumatised by the ordeal, they had not experienced physical violence.

“They were not tied, enslaved, beaten, starved like in other human trafficking cases,” he said.

“However, the incidents of that one weekend will have an effect on these women for the rest of their lives. Their lives were put in danger by forcing them to sleep with strangers - that is an aggravating factor,” he said

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