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By Ilse de Lange


Trial of sex worker, 17, held in camera

The girl’s four co-accused will go on trial separately on 29 charges ranging from human trafficking to sexually grooming children.

The trial of a 17-year-old sex worker, who allegedly lured two 14-year-old girls into a Nigerian man’s prostitution and drug ring, yesterday proceeded in the High Court in Pretoria behind closed doors.

The trial of the girl’s four co-accused, who will go on trial separately, was delayed after the prosecution indicated that the girl intended to plead guilty to some of the charges against her.

The girl’s trial proceeded in camera because she is a minor.

The girl, Nigerian Edozie Obi, 44, his girlfriend Nomsa “Blessing” Hlalele, 23, sex worker Mahlatse Hlatshwayo, 26, and Luke Botha, 43, face a total of 29 charges ranging from human trafficking, kidnapping and rape, to sexually exploiting children for money, sexually grooming children, keeping a brothel and dealing in drugs.

The state alleges Obi rented a house in Springs from which he distributed drugs and ran a tuck shop and brothel.

Potential clients were allegedly approached to buy groceries from the tuck shop but were then offered sex in exchange for money. The money was allegedly given to Obi, who gave the sex workers drugs and beer in return.

In 2016, Obi allegedly lured a 19-year-old woman to the brothel, where she was locked up, shown how to use drugs and forced to perform sexual acts on Obi and his girlfriend. She was allegedly forced to watch Obi and his girlfriend having sex before Obi raped her while his girlfriend held her down.

The 17-year-old sex worker allegedly agreed to recruit unsuspecting underaged girls in Balfour as sex workers and lured two 14-year-old girls to the brothel where they were locked up, forced to consume drugs and to have sex with several men.

The young girls were allegedly made to watch pornographic movies and sex acts before Obi raped them. They were supplied with drugs before and after sex with clients.

Obi’s girlfriend allegedly took half-naked pictures of all three victims which were used to advertise their sexual services.

The 19-year-old victim was allegedly held captive and forced to work as a prostitute for a year, while the two 14-year-old girls were exploited for less than a week before they were rescued by the police.


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