Cape Town - A Cape Peninsula University of Technology student believes the mercy of a man she had allegedly been sold to for prostitution is the reason she is still alive.
The third-year student was allegedly kidnapped by about five men on a minibus taxi headed to Woodstock on Monday.
On Wednesday, she was reunited with her family at the Cape Town police station where they bumped into each other.
The traumatised 23-year-old, who had been missing for two days, detailed her ordeal after the men allegedly drove her to Harare in Khayelitsha. She said she hesitated to enter the taxi after noticing there were only men inside.
“They told me it was dark and they wouldn’t harm me and that Woodstock was just around the corner.
The taxi drove past my street and I thought maybe they forgot, so I told the driver he passed and he said, no, I was going with them. At that point I was panicking.
“One of the guys came and sat next to me. I can recall the car passing Maitland. The man next to me questioned where I stayed and told me not to worry, we were going to have fun,” she said.
“I was terrified. I could not believe what was happening to me, but I kept calm. The man told me I belonged to him and I would go home with him in Khayelitsha. He sent a message to someone on his phone.
"The vehicle stopped by the airport industrial. I was then forced out of the vehicle into a Citi Golf,” she said.
“Thinking the driver (of the Citi Golf) would assist me, I told him what happened. He pulled out a gun and gave it to the man sitting next to me. His friend dropped us in an area full of shacks.
“He told me we were walking to his house.
“We stopped by a few bushes and he demanded my handbag. I thought since it’s just me and him, I would fight him. He stabbed my hand with a sharp object. I gave up.”
She said it was at this point that she begged the man to take everything and leave. She said the man threatened to shoot her if she screamed or made people suspicious.
When they passed a shebeen, a woman came to her rescue, asking if she was fine, to which she responded “yes”.
“I winked to indicate I was not.
“The man was walking in front and I was a bit behind. The woman following behind me quickly grabbed me and we ran to her house.
“I thought at last I was safe. Little did I know, she had other plans for me.”
She said the woman asked why she would walk with a thug.
“I texted my sister with my phone, which I hid in my breasts, but after that it went off.
“After some time, two men came inside and informed me the other woman was coming back, but she never did.
“A few minutes later, a foreigner came in and asked if I was the person they had promised him, and they agreed.
“I watched as he passed a note to the men.”
She said she was forced to go with the Nigerian man, who took her to his house where she was allegedly forced to drink juice, and that was the last thing she remembered.
She said she woke up on Tuesday morning and there was another girl who informed her that the place was a brothel and she would be taken care of by the Nigerian man.
She said she was taken to a park where a would-be client was waiting for her.
“While driving with the man (who was a client), he asked my age and I told him my story. He felt sorry for me and gave me R50 to go home.
“He said he couldn’t hurt me.”
Police said they would be opening a case of kidnapping and human trafficking.
Last year, Sonke Gender Justice and the Mosaic Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women, in partnership with the SA National Taxi Association and the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, held a Safe Rides initiative, calling for a stop to sexual harassment and assault women face while in public transport.