Alleged human traffickers appear in Cape Town court

2018-09-21 14:45
(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

(Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

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Two men appeared in the Bellville Regional Court on Friday for the alleged human trafficking of a woman from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Vincent Ndidi Onyejekwa, 39, appeared in court alongside co-accused Uche Henry Ezenywa, 35. An interpreter assisted the accused to interpret the proceedings into Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria.

The case was transferred from Johannesburg because the woman at the centre of the allegations had allegedly been recruited in Johannesburg and was "received" in Cape Town.

When they were arrested, police sent out a statement saying victims were lured from Johannesburg to Cape Town with promises of lucrative job opportunities.

Read: Victims rescued from possible human trafficking ring, businessman appears in court

In court on Friday, the magistrate postponed the case to October 18 for Onyejekwa to apply for bail. Ezenywa is due in court in October. A third suspect, Chizoba Uba is already out on bail.*

Prosecutor MC Moatlhodi said the State intended to oppose bail, saying that Onyejekwa was a flight risk.

The case followed arrests the Hawks made for similar offences in other provinces.

Leandre Meryl Williams Ayuk, 35, appeared in the Springbok Magistrate's Court on August 14, the Hawks stated in a media release.

She allegedly recruited victims under false pretences to travel from Springbok to Cape Town and coerced them into a life of drugs and prostitution when they arrived. Two escaped and returned home.

Read more: Human trafficking suspect nabbed in Cape Town, 2 women freed

Ayuk allegedly recruited people for her husband Edward Ayuk, also arrested for similar offences in September 2017.

Victims aged 16 and 29 were allegedly found at Edward's house in Brooklyn, Cape Town upon his arrest. His case is before the Cape Town Regional Court.

At a Victim Empowerment Forum launch in Milnerton in August, non-governmental organisation A21 said human trafficking used a person for profit, either by force or coercion.

Vulnerable people are usually offered work or recruited through a fake advertisement, then transported to the supposed work to be exploited for sex or work under terrible working conditions.

They are also trapped in cycles of debt as traffickers force them to use and pay for drugs. Only a few women manage to escape and alert police.

At the Milnerton launch, A21 praised the Hawks for being very responsive when the NGO asked for help on behalf of a trafficked person.

*CORRECTION: This story incorrectly stated that Henry Ezenywa was out on bail. Ezenywa will appear in court for bail proceedings in October, while a third suspect, Chizoba Uba is out on R5000 bail.

Read more on:    cape town  |  human trafficking  |  crime  |  court

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