Judgment delivered in epic sex trafficking case

Brothers Edward and Yannick Ayuk during the court’s site visit pic Monique

Brothers Edward and Yannick Ayuk during the court’s site visit pic Monique

Published May 18, 2024


Cape Town - Harrowing tales of abuse by women who were allegedly trafficked to the Mother City to be sold as prostitutes took centre stage at the Western Cape High Court on Friday as judgment commenced in one of the biggest human trafficking trials.

The Milnerton trio accused of trafficking women from Springbok and the Eastern Cape returned to the dock yesterday as Judge Alma De Wet commenced with the mammoth judgment after years of testimonies.

The trial, which commenced in November 2021, saw two Cameroonian cousins, Edward and Yannick Ayuk, being slapped with over 40 charges including rape, kidnapping, assault and various other offences for allegedly running a brothel in Milnerton.

According to the State, the duo along with Edward’s wife Leandre Williams lured women from Springbok and East London to Cape Town under false pretences and instead made them walk the streets to solicit clients.

During the mammoth trial, several of the women were transported from their home towns to take the stand. They told the court of drug abuse, alleged beatings and working on the streets of the Mother City.

Williams also took the stand in her own defence, denying she had trafficked any women from Springbok.

Instead, she admitted to being a sex worker but said many women in Springbok did so voluntarily.

Leandre Williams.

Addressing the court yesterday, Judge De Wet explained that, due to time constrictions and the large volumes of information contained in the judgment, it would be delivered in two parts.

In a summary of the evidence before her, Judge De Wet highlighted the testimonies of several women who took the stand against Edward and Williams, telling the court how they were trafficked from a town called Matjieskloof.

In one of the many testimonies, a 27-year-old woman who may not be named revealed how she was forced to balance buckets of water on her head while being whipped and how strained family ties led her to murdering her own mother.

She told the court she was brought to Cape Town in January 2017 and on arrival she was given rocks (crack cocaine) which increased their sexual urges. The woman said she was sent to the streets where she would work 12 hours shifts.

She said the money she earned had to be handed over to Edward who allegedly gave her more drugs in return, and when she lied about the amount of clients she had, she was shocked to discover that her alleged pimp had recorded the registration plate numbers of every vehicle who had picked her up.

After an escape attempt, she said she was recaptured and her punishment included being forced to balance a bucket of hot water on her head while kneeling on a broomstick to get rid of her “demons”.

After she escaped she received medical assistance back in Springbok.

The judgment will continue next week.

Weekend Argus