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Sex ‘recruiter’ applies for bail

Published Aug 13, 2013

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Cape Town - A man accused of being a “recruiter” in a human trafficking syndicate that allegedly used women for sexual exploitation is attempting to get bail in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

Francis Chidiebane Nweke, 31, is one of four men accused of trafficking at least three women from Joburg, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape who were allegedly used as prostitutes.

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Nweke, Nwafor Emmanuel Jideoffer, 24, Billy Emeka Amune, 37, and Ogechukwu Kingsley Mmaduekwe, 32, who are all originally from Nigeria, are accused of 14 charges related to the trafficking and exploitation of women.

The State said the men lived off the money the women made as prostitutes.

They have been charged with various counts, including rape, kidnapping, trafficking in persons for sexual purposes, the involvement of trafficking persons for sexual purposes, living on the earnings of prostitution, and assault.

Nweke wants bail and had previously testified he had a child in South Africa he needed to take care of.

On Monday, investigating officer Warrant Officer Lizette Durrbaum told the court a specialist investigations unit had rescued a 19-year-old woman who had allegedly been sold and trafficked from Joburg to Cape Town by the syndicate.

The court heard how the woman, who had grown up in Belfast, on the border of Mpumalanga and Gauteng, had left her aunt’s house a few years ago because she had been ill-treated there.

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The woman went to Joburg and, while wandering the streets of Hillbrow, met a woman who offered to help her.

The 19-year-old was then introduced to the woman’s husband, “William”, at an “underground” club.

She lived with the couple at their Brooklyn house, and after two weeks was told to work as a prostitute so that she could pay for her rent and food.

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A year passed and all the money she earned was given to William and the woman.

On January 15, this year, William said she was to leave with a man called “Destiny” (later identified by authorities as Ogechukwu Kingsley Mmaduekwe) to go to Cape Town to work in a computer shop.

Durrbaum said the woman agreed to go because she thought her circumstances would be better there.

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She left the next day on a bus with “Destiny”.

But the woman told investigators she was raped by him and made to work as a prostitute.

She refused, but was told that she “had no choice because he had already paid for her”, Durrbaum said.

On the second night on the streets of Cape Town, city law enforcement officers approached her when they realised she was new to the area.

She told officers her story and led them to Destiny’s home, where they found an asylum-seeker permit bearing his real name, Ogechukwu Kingsley Mmaduekwe.

A short while later, the police arrested Mamduekwe at OR Tambo airport, before he could leave for Nigeria.

When she was back in Joburg, she showed investigators where “William” lived in Turffontein.

 

The police, accompanied by the woman, then approached Nweke.

Durrbaum said they were investigating a syndicate, and that they were checking cellphone links to prove that the men were communicating.

They had also arrested Jideoffer and Amune during their probe.

 

The matter continues.

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Cape Argus

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