An image from an anti-human trafficking campaign. This crime remains a major problem in South Africa. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - For three months, a young woman was allegedly held against her will in Fourways, forced to be a sex slave for two men after they lured her to Gauteng with the promise of employment.
Frank Anaku and and Ilo Samadino are at the centre of a horrific human trafficking case at the high court in Johannesburg, accused of kidnapping, prostituting and then raping the 21-year-old Upington woman and three others.
While both men have denied the numerous charges against them, judgment in the matter has been set down for next week.
This week, the pair appeared at the court ready to hear their fate, but the presiding judge’s unavailability meant the case was postponed.
The State has alleged it was in January 2016 that Helena Boswell (not her real name) met the two men in Upington, where she told them of her inability to find a job. They promised Boswell “the good life”, a job and a place to rent in Johannesburg if she agreed to leave her home province.
The pair organised and paid for her transport to their home in Fourways, but upon her arrival, she was told she was not allowed to leave the property.
She was allegedly kept with three other women who have also claimed they were beaten and made to sell their bodies for the two men.
Boswell was stripped of any ability to contact her family, and for three months the pair forced her to have sex with men they would bring to the home, threatening that she would be killed otherwise.
According to the State’s indictment: “The proceeds of sexual acts performed by her were all handed over to the accused. In return she was given drugs”.
The State has also alleged the pair raped the young woman over the three months she was kept inside.
It was only on April 18, 2016 that she was able to secure an outside line to text message her mother, who reported the case to the police.
They rescued Boswell and arrested Anaku and Samadino.
State advocate Lwazi Ngodwana, in his closing arguments, explained the horrors of the human trafficking processes running rampant in South Africa.
“The purpose of transport (from their home to an unfamiliar place) is to alienate the victim so they become more vulnerable and thus easier to exploit.
“Their vulnerability arises from the fact that they do not have close relatives at their destination, do not have money or means to return home, and sometimes cannot speak the language, are disadvantaged by their legal status (for example, being a minor or female) or do not know the environment they find themselves in,” said Ngodwana.
“The exploitation stage is at the heart of the crime. The exploitative activity usually begins soon after arrival, at the point of destination. Sexual exploitation is most common.”
He was also critical of the defence’s failure to explain why the men had claimed Boswell had laid false human trafficking charges against them, as she was not cross-examined on this when she took the stand.