Pretoria - Human trafficking cannot be tolerated, and those involved must feel the might of the law, a judge said in sentencing a 30-year-old man to 22 years in jail.
Judge Pierre Rabie, in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced Angelo Mulambo from Mozambique to jail time for human trafficking, rape, kidnapping and assisting a person to be in the country illegally.
The court heard the evidence of a 14-year-old girl, who testified about her ordeal which started in 2017. The girl was living with her grandmother in Mozambique after her mother had died.
She had been on her way to school when she met a neighbour who took her to the Mulambo family home, on the pretext that she could get a babysitting job.
But once there, she said she was told that she would become Mulambo’s second wife, and was taken to his room.
Shortly afterwards, she said Mulambo brought her across the border to South Africa illegally, and they stayed in a shack in Mamelodi East, along with his first wife.
The girl described how the three shared a bed and she was exposed to sexual acts between the couple, and that Mulambo raped her.
In the early hours of the morning of September, 7, 2017, she managed to go to a neighbour and report to her what had happened, and Mulambo was arrested.
The prosecutor, advocate Andrew Mphaga, argued that human trafficking was an international problem.
In asking for a harsh sentence, he said the offences committed were of a serious nature and had affected the young victim both physically and psychologically.
Judge Rabie commended the work of the Thuthuzela Care Centre - part of government’s facilities for the protection of rape victims - where she stayed until she could be reconciled with her family in December last year.
The courts view human trafficking in a serious light, and previously, Judge Natvarlal Ranchod imposed six life sentences and an additional 129 years imprisonment to a Nigerian national for human trafficking and related charges, after he had kept three young girls hostage to work as sex slaves.
The high court is hearing another human trafficking case involving four accused and a young victim. The case has been set down until the end of this week, but the media are barred from attending the trial at this stage due to its sensitive nature.