Inside the State’s case against alleged trafficking, extortion ring

Hawks. (File, Netwerk24)
Hawks. (File, Netwerk24)

Cape Town – Kidnapping and trafficking minors, running a brothel in Cape Town and extorting two clients of almost R3m.

These are some of the crimes a group of people allegedly committed over four years before they were confronted by the Hawks.

The accused currently face related charges in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

News24 and Netwerk24 have established that the accused are Shantel Bridger, 45, her husband Norman Bridger, her son Robin Reyneke, 27, Juan Francois Warren, 39, Camilla Amelia de Waal Rossouw, 29, Deanne Collins, 33, Fareez Allie, 35, Achmat Toffa, 41, Natasha Chang and Michael D’Olivier.

Some of their arrests were as a result of raids at several properties around Parklands, Table View, and Milnerton in February.

According to a provisional charge sheet, the State intended prosecuting the accused in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

This would be for alleged money laundering and managing and participating in a criminal enterprise.

There were also charges of keeping a brothel and living off the earnings of prostitution.

In terms of the alleged scheme, two minors and a woman were kidnapped, trafficked for sexual purposes and forced into debt bondage.

Debt bondage was a method by traffickers to keep victims hostage with never-ending debt.

Bridger was accused of common assault and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

In one instance, the State alleged that she hit the minors in Table View. In another instance, she allegedly hit one of the minors with a bed lamp.

Bridger and at least one of her co-accused allegedly extorted two men.

They were accused of threatening the men with exposing videos and photos of them with sex workers on social media, as well as to their employers and families.

The one man paid R40 000 while the other paid R2.8m.

According to Netwerk24, the man who paid the larger sum was the son of a well-known businessman in Cape Town.

It was not immediately clear whether the videos and photos actually existed.

Toffa and Allie have previously appeared as accused in a murder case.

They were charged alongside Willem Frederick John Coetzer and two others for the murder of gay nightclub owner Bruno Bronn, who was strangled in his Sea Point home in February 2012.

In 2014, the Western Cape High Court sentenced Coetzer to life imprisonment for the murder. Toffa and Allie were acquitted on murder and robbery charges.

Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said the group's cases were postponed to September.

Three people were expected to apply for bail at a later stage.

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