Pretoria - The pimps who controlled prostitutes walking the streets of Sunnyside and Arcadia often assaulted them.
A security guard told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Wednesday that the sex workers used to complain about this.
Judge Bert Bam was told that the police knew about the activities of the prostitutes in the area and often raided the flats.
The prostitutes were arrested following sting operations, but would be back on the streets again in a flash.
Security guard Derick Makou testified in the trial of two Nigerian nationals, brothers Obioma Benjamin Abba, 32, and Chinedu Justine Obasi, 38, as well as South African citizen Nolwazi Patience Mkhonto. They are facing an array of charges after the Hawks raided Jaspit Flats in Frances Baard Street last year.
The main charges against the brothers relate to alleged 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 to them the flat where the alleged activities occurred. All the accused have pleaded not guilty.
Makou was a security guard at Jaspit Flats when the Hawks raided the flat on the fourth floor and arrested some of the prostitutes and their alleged pimps. Two of the women agreed to turn State witness against the accused, and they were subsequently placed in a witness protection programme.
The security guard said he knew the two women - identified only as M and P. He said both of them used to complain to him that their pimps assaulted them.
Some residents in the complex also complained from time to time that they could hear the women being assaulted in the flat. The guard said some of the prostitutes tried to run away from their shady lives and their pimps.
He said M once told him she was leaving her life as a prostitute behind, and she walked past him with a bag in her hand. She told him she was going home.
He said she returned not long after this, with her pimp at her side. Makou said he mostly saw the women during the night, as they slept during the day.
Another guard testified how a mother once came to fetch her daughter from one of the flats and said she was taking her back home to Soshanguve. The prostitute was, however, back on the streets two days later.
The guard told the court that the police often raided Jaspit Flats and they knew exactly what was going on there, raiding the flats every second day and arresting prostitutes, who would be back within hours.
The women mostly worked at night by walking the streets. Sometimes they got into cars with clients and sometimes they brought them back to the flat, the guard said.
One of the now former prostitutes said they usually worked a 12-hour shift, and they were constantly high on drugs to maintain the lifestyle.
They said they charged their clients according to their preference of what was on the “menu” - R100 for a “full house” (any style of sex) and R80 for a single style.