On Friday afternoon, 21 Jan 2011, Magistrate Mr Gavin Juicy read out the summary of evidence and criminal counts against six Nigerian Nationals standing before him.
They stand accused of raping under aged girls aged at the time 11, 12 and 13 years. Human trafficking, Racketeering, Living off the proceeds of prostitution generated by minor girls working under duress, Assault of minor girls, and Dealing in dangerous dependence producing drugs on a daily basis.
The charges read detail specific criminal acts over the period from 2005 – 2008. The six accused have been tracked from Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
It has been a complicated process as there is no law in respect of specific human Trafficking legislation. Numerous Acts of the criminal law and sections of the sexual offences Act, contravention of sections of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, and various other criminal Acts were applied.
On 20 February 2004, South Africa ratified the primary international instrument addressing human trafficking, the United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. This protocol is referred to as the “Palermo Protocol”. This set of rules is the first internationally agreed to definition of human trafficking that provides a common understanding and approach to fighting modern day slavery (Human Trafficking)
Each year the Department of State releases a report to monitor Human Trafficking.. Countries are ranked based on their ability to effectively fight and address the problem of Human Trafficking. South Africa having ratified the Palermo Protocol agreement is obligated to address these issues as crime’s making them punishable by law with appropriate sentencing according to the gravity of the offence.
In spite of these good intentions South Africa has been put on a Tier 2 watch list for the fourth consecutive year by the Department of State due to an inability to meet the Minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The report outlines problems with prosecutions, inadequate Government protection of victims and minimal improvements on prevention efforts (U.S. Department of State, 2008)
Despite these observations the Government departments involved in this case have made monumental strides in terms of securing witness protection for the victims in this case; the SAPS have presented faultless evidence and procedural proof over the long time span and the prosecution have put together a compelling and strong argument opposing bail.
The Magistrate Gavin Juicy commented, when denying Bail to the six Nigerian Nationals, that he was impressed with the preparation of the case, the effort and attention to detail made by the SAPS and prosecution team.
The case has been remanded to 29 April 2011. The wheels of justice have turned and the writing is on the wall; “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN… – Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians” (The Bible, Old Testament book of Daniel 5:25)
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