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Witness tells the Western Cape High Court how she was trafficked for prostitution

It is alleged that the three worked together to recruit a number of women for the purpose of sex work. File picture: OBED ZILWA

It is alleged that the three worked together to recruit a number of women for the purpose of sex work. File picture: OBED ZILWA

Published Feb 22, 2022


Cape Town - Three people charged with operating a sex trafficking ring in 2017 appeared in the Western Cape High Court, where a State witness testified.

Edward Ayuk, 42, his wife Leandra Ayuk, 38, and his brother Yannick Ayuk, 32, have been charged with 40 counts of rape, trafficking, kidnapping, debt bondage, drug dealing and assault.

It is alleged that the three worked together to recruit a number of women for the purpose of sex work. The women were allegedly manipulated by Leandra to leave their homes in Springbok under the pretext of finding work opportunities in Cape Town.

These women were transported from Matjiesfontein and other parts of Springbok to Brooklyn in Cape Town, where they were used for sexual exploitation.

State prosecutor advocate Saarah Buffkins called a witness to testify in court about what she saw at the Ayuk house in Brooklyn and how she became involved.

The witness, who cannot be named, is a 33-year-old from Springbok. She said that she knew Leandra from the neighbourhood because they lived in the same street. She said scores of woman frequented Leandra’s house, where they looked after her children.

She told the court that in 2016 Leandra approached her with an offer to transport drugs from Cape Town to Springbok. The witness said Leandra had told her she wanted to start selling drugs in the area.

She said Leandra informed her that she would be paid R2 000 for her efforts and all she needed to do was go to Cape Town, collect a package and return it to Springbok. She said that after she agreed, Leandra put her in taxi which drove her to Cape Town.

The witness said she arrived in Cape Town after 10pm and met Edward at his house, where he refused to speak to her about the drugs but tried to make her feel comfortable in the house.

She said after Ayuk left her she found another Springbok woman staying there. She told the court that as they were conversing, the woman laughed at her when she spoke about collecting drugs. The woman told her that she was there for prostitution.

The woman said that she needed help with prostitution and that was why the witness was there, to assist her.

She testified that she had a conversation with this woman about how the girls were recruited. She said Leandra sent photos to Edward and they would choose from these photos which woman was suitable to be sent to Cape Town.

She told the court that she also saw a room filled with condoms and Edward joked about it with this woman. She told the court that according to her what she saw was prostitution because this woman escorted a man to that room. The witness testified that Edward sold her drugs the night that she arrived.

She said the next day she had a conversation with Leandra about why she was there. “I asked Leandra how can you do this to me because you sent me for drugs but now I’m here for prostitution.”

She then testified that two days later, she left the house without the drugs. The state alleged that six women were victims of the trafficking ring.

According to the State, the accused abused the vulnerability of women who were unemployed, desperate and addicted to drugs.

The State also alleged that the accused benefited financially from the service of women who they moved to the city. They then took the money that these women made from selling themselves to unknown men.

The trial will continue today where defence counsel is expected to cross examine the witness.

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Cape Argus