Three accused human traffickers will go on trial in the Western Cape High Court later this month – three years after their initial arrest. File picture: Laille Jack/African News Agency (ANA)
Three accused human traffickers will go on trial in the Western Cape High Court later this month – three years after their initial arrest. File picture: Laille Jack/African News Agency (ANA)

Trio accused of human trafficking, debt bondage to have their day in court

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published May 4, 2021

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Cape Town - Three accused human traffickers will go on trial in the Western Cape High Court later this month – three years after their initial arrest.

The trio face a total of 40 charges including human trafficking, debt bondage, using the services of a victim of human trafficking, living on the earnings of prostitution, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, six counts of rape and dealing in drugs.

Edward Ayuk, Leandra Ayuk and Yannick Ayuk are set to appear in the high court after they were arrested in September 2018 in the Northern Cape by the Hawks’ Anti-Human Trafficking Unit.

According to court documents, the youngest human trafficking victim was 15 years old and was sexually exploited after being recruited as a sex worker and supplied with drugs for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

At the time of the arrest, Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalase said: “(Leandra) allegedly recruited victims under false pretences to travel from Springbok to Cape Town. They were allegedly coerced into a life of drugs and prostitution on their arrival. The two victims managed to escape and return home.

“(Leandra) allegedly recruited the victims for her husband Edward Ayuk, who was also arrested for a similar offence in September 2017. Two victims, aged 16 and 29 years old, were rescued at Edward’s house in Brooklyn, Cape Town, upon his arrest.”

Two other alleged recruiters, Vincent Ndidi Onyejekwa, 39, and Uche Henry Ezenwa, 35, were apprehended in Johannesburg, also in 2018.

Onyejekwa and Ezenwa were allegedly linked as recruiters to Bellville and Milnerton cases of trafficking persons.

“Both victims were lured and transported from Johannesburg to Cape Town with promises of lucrative job opportunities in those separate cases,” Nkwalase said.

Last month, Verona Kennedy, 27, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment at the Cape Town Regional Court for human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Kennedy had recruited a 14-year-old George girl who testified in court about her ordeal, which started in 2013.

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Cape Times

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