Cape Town-140319. Sentencing of an Atlantis woman was postponed at the Atlantis Regional Court today for a charge of human trafficking. Atlantis women protest outside the court, joined by Atlantis Councillor, Barbera Rass(in Blue-centre). Reporter:Nonthando. Photo: jason boud

Cape Town -

A 25-year-old Atlantis woman was lured into prostitution with a promise of a job. For two years she was raped, drugged and forced to work as a prostitute before being rescued by her family at the beginning of the year.

Her 43-year-old sister told the story to the Cape Argus on Wednesday. The woman, who is not named to protect her sister, was one of a group of protesters outside the Atlantis Magistrate Court where Claudette le Roux was due to be sentenced for prostituting two young children left in her care last year. Her sentencing was postponed to next Thursday.

She said her sister was lured by her “Congolese friend” who promised her a job. The “friend” took her to a shack in Dunoon where she was locked up and “initiated” by five men.

“They pumped her body full of drugs and gang raped her before selling her to another guy.”

She came to Atlantis from Port Elizabeth two months ago to take care of her sister who the family had not had contact with for two years.

“All this time we thought she was staying with friends. Meanwhile, she was kept prisoner, beaten and abused. They constantly threatened her, took her to brothels and the streets….”

She said in the beginning of the year her sister sent a letter to her through a woman who was trafficked into the country.

“When we found her in the shack she couldn’t walk. She was lying on a bed with a toddler next to her….”

She is now undergoing counselling and is in the police witness protection programme determined to “name and shame” her abusers.

Barbara Rass, Atlantis councillor and founder of the Atlantis Women’s Movement, said that human trafficking was on the increase and that the government should ensure harsher sentences for traffickers. “It’s real and happening and it needs to be brought out to the open.”

The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill was signed into law last July, giving the country for the first time a statute dealing specifically with human trafficking.

It carries a maximum penalty of R100 million or life imprisonment, or both, if convicted.

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Cape Argus