Two jailed for forcing women into prostitution

Port Shepstone - A man and a woman were sentenced to 25 and 17 years in prison respectively by the Port Shepstone Regional Court on Friday after being found guilty of trafficking and sexual exploitation charges, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

Veeran Palan, 34 and his co-accused Edwina Norris, 28, had lured two women from Cape Town to Durban by promising them employment, KwaZulu-Natal NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said.

The women knew Norris as they had grown up in the same neighbourhood.

"She, with the assistance of her co-accused, promised one woman a job as a cleaner in a Margate hotel and the other a job as a waitress in Durban.

"The women, who were both unemployed and living in impoverished conditions, believed the offer to be genuine and accepted," Kara said.

The women were bought bus tickets and given money for airtime and food for the trip from Cape Town.

When they arrived in Port Shepstone they were taken to a house in Oslo Beach, where they were told they would have to work as prostitutes because they owed Palan money for the bus tickets.

Norris bought the two lingerie which had to be worn when meeting clients.

They were made to stand in line with other women while clients picked the one they wanted.

The women were also not allowed to leave the house, except under the supervision of Palan and Norris

"The complainants were rescued by the police when one of them contacted her mother (via cellphone) with the name of a bar they were in," said Kara.

Palan was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two trafficking charges, one for keeping a brothel, one for kidnapping and one year each for two charges of procuring women for sexual exploitation.

The sentences would run concurrently with the 10 years sentence, said Kara.

Palan was also fined R10 000 or five months imprisonment for benefiting from the proceeds of prostitution. 

Norris was sentenced to six years in prison for each of the two trafficking charges, one month for keeping a brothel, one year each for the two kidnapping charges and one year each for the two charges of procuring women for sexual exploitation.

Her sentences would run concurrently with the six years sentence.

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