Pimps pay a price

2015-10-28 10:27
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I survived human trafficking in Johannesburg

2015-10-08 12:09

As part of human trafficking awareness week in South Africa, we have republished a 2014 interview we did with Grizelda Grootboom. She was 18 years old when a trip to Johannesburg turned into a nightmare.WATCH

Durban - Three human traffickers were on Tuesday handed sentences ranging from an effective 30 years’ imprisonment for the main perpetrator, to five years’ imprisonment and a wholly suspended sentence respectively for his two co-accused.

Emmanuel Uche Odii, 32, Bonginkosi Shange, 46, and William Ojiaku, 30, were convicted in the Durban regional court on charges relating to “trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation”, Natasha Kara, spokesperson for the KZN director of public prosecutions, said.

She said the three men had used the false promise of employment to exploit the two victims in the case.

Odii and Ojiaku are both Nigerian nationals.

Odii had paid Shange (a South African citizen) a sum of R1 000 for each woman he recruited.

Job offer

The first victim was 19 years old when she was offered a job as a domestic worker by Ojiaku in June 2010.

“Travel arrangements were made by the accused and the woman went to Pretoria. On arrival, she was taken to a flat where she was sexually assaulted and raped by accused 1 [Odii],” said Kara.

She said the woman was then taken to another flat where she saw women bringing in men to have sex with.

Odii told her that she would have to do the same, and when she refused she was kept locked up in the flat.

In August 2010 the second victim, an 18-year-old girl, was offered a job to take care of Odii’s flat while he was out of town.

She accepted the offer.

Thereafter travel arrangements were made and she went to Pretoria.

Odii threatened her and forced her to smoke rock cocaine which had a serious effect on the young woman’s health and resulted in her being hospitalised later.

The victim was also told to conduct prostitution for the financial benefit of Odii.

In aggravation of sentence senior state advocate Val Dafel told the court that human trafficking is regarded as the fastest growing criminal activity in the world and it generates billions of dollars in earnings for traffickers.

She urged the court to deliver sentences that would act as a deterrent to other would-be offenders.

30-year sentence

Odii, who was convicted of eight charges — two counts of human trafficking, two of kidnapping, one of sexual assault, one rape, one assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and one of keeping a brothel — was effectively jailed for 30 years.

Shange — who was found guilty of two counts of human trafficking — was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for each count and the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

This means he will serve an effective five years in jail.

William Ojiaku — who was convicted of a single count of kidnapping — was sentenced to two years imprisonment which was wholly suspended for five years on condition he is not convicted of a similar offence in that period.

The NPA welcomed the sentences and congratulated the prosecutor on a “job well done”.

“We are pleased that the courts are taking a firm stance against crimes of this nature. Trafficking in persons is a global problem and members of the ­public need to be cautious and educate themselves,” said Kara.

Read more on:    durban  |  human trafficking

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