Nigerian national, Peter Akadoronge, 37, has been found guilty of human trafficking, rape and assault and sentenced to five life imprisonment terms plus six years in jail in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court this week.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, said the court ordered that the sentences should run concurrently, resulting in a life imprisonment term.
Akadoronge was convicted on three counts of Trafficking in Persons(TIP) , two counts of rapes of adults that happened more than once and one count of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm following an incident that happened in Thohoyandou on 26 November 2017.
“Three women went in search for employment when they were approached by three Nigerian men with an offer of employment. One of the ladies suggested that they go to a nearby night club to discuss the offer of employment,” Mjonondwane said.
“The men bought drinks for them and upon consuming these drinks, they became unconscious and after regaining consciousness, they realised that they were at an unknown place,” Mjonondwane said.
The women told the court that they awoke to find themselves in a room with two unknown women.
“The room had no windows, except for one mattress that was on the floor. The two ladies informed them that they were in Rosettenville, Johannesburg,” Mjonondwane said.
Mjonondwane said that the three men then told the women that they had found the jobs they were looking for, which entailed them selling their bodies.
“The complainants told their captors that they were not going to sell their bodies. At this point, their captors started assaulting them and told them to take off their clothes. They further testified that they were raped as an induction to teach them their newly found job,” Mjonondwane said.
“After raping them, they were forced to take drugs on a daily basis while being held captive. Different men were brought in to have sexual intercourse with them, following payment to their captors. If they refused to have sex with these men, they would be assaulted and deprived food,” Mjonondwane said.
Mjonondwane said that as time passed the women’s captors started trusting them and would leave them outside the yard unguarded. On 9 May 2018 they managed to escape and stopped a vehicle that took them to the Moffatview police station. The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit took them to a help centre for counselling, a medical examination and treatment for drug addiction.
The next day, Detective Armstrong Ndlala took them to Rosettenville in search of the suspects and they managed to point out Akadoronge, who they spotted standing next to a street light with eight other men.
All men were arrested but later released, except for Akadoronge who remained in custody until the finalisation of the case.
State Advocate Colleen Ryan argued that Akadoronge had arrived as a visitor in South Africa and chose to disregard the laws of the land. She further argued that he left his victims with emotional and physical scars.
In handing down the sentence Magistrate Simon Radasi said the government had promulgated legislation to turn the tide of gender based violence, but the crime continued unabated.
“Women have a legitimate claim to walk freely in our streets without fear of being abducted. The courts must remove people that are of danger to society out of circulation for very long periods to send a clear message that our justice system frowns upon such inhumane acts,” Radasi said.
The NPA extended its gratitude to the eight witnesses, including two medical doctors, the probation officer for a detailed pre-sentence report and Court Preparation Officer, Takasile Raphili for ensuring that the human trafficking victims had been ready to testify.