File picture: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Pretoria - She tried to get away from her pimp, but it was impossible, as he came to fetch her again and again.
This, said a former prostitute, 22, was as she prowled the streets of Sunnyside for more than a year to earn money to give to her pimps and sustain her drug habit.

The woman, only identified as M, testified in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in the trial of two Nigerian citizens facing human trafficking charges.

Read: Court hears tales of sex, drugs and pimps in Pretoria

She is the second former prostitute to testify against brothers Obioma Benjamin Abba, 32 and Chinedu Justine Obasi, 38, as well as South African citizen Nolwazi Patience Mkhonto.

The main charges against the brothers relate to human trafficking, money laundering and running a brothel, as well as drug-related charges. The woman is facing a charge relating to assisting the men in their endeavours and subletting the Sunnyside flat to them where the activities occurred. All pleaded not guilty.

They were arrested after the Hawks raided their Sunnyside flat last year. The two former women of the night were the only ones willing to turn against their alleged pimps. After the raid they were placed under a strict witness protection plan.

The first one testified that she was forced to have sex with at least 10 clients a night, and she worked an average 12-hour shift on the streets - between 6pm and 6am.

She had to hand all the cash to her pimp, who kept her in a steady supply of drugs and a close eye on her, she said. Without the drugs, she could not do her job, she said.

The second prostitute told a similar tale. She said she left her parents’ home in Soshanguve and came to Pretoria in 2015. She had been visiting a Nigerian friend who lived in the same block of flats as the accused. She was addicted to drugs so her friend suggested she advertise her services as a prostitute online, which she did.

She had no choice as she had to pay for her drug habit, she said. She later started working for the accused. She and her fellow sex worker wanted to leave, but every time they were brought back by their pimps. “Before the Hawks came there we planned to escape with the help of the church people."

Pretoria News