Human trafficking sentencing due next month

Picture: SUPPLIED

The four Whittlesea women convicted of trafficking a 12-year-old girl for sex await their sentencing next month.

The four appeared in the Komani regional court last Thursday, but the final ruling was postponed to December 12 due to magistrate Nomsami Mshunqane’s absence.

Xolelwa Garhishe, Yolanda Klaas, Zintle Tom and Nwabisa Kaziwa were found guilty in August of trafficking the victim and making money from sexual exploitation in 2016.

Their co-accused, foreign businessman Harun Mohammed, was found guilty of raping the 12-year-old.

Mshunqane had said the evidence of the victim as a single witness satisfied the court and that the accused were guilty as charged.

The magistrate had said the court had to be cautious when dealing with the evidence of a child witness, but the complainant was clear, confident and firm in her evidence.

“She knew what she was talking about – she was sound, consistent, gave detailed evidence and did not contradict herself. She stuck to her version, despite lengthy questioning by the defence,” Mshunqane said.

All four accused denied having trafficked the complainant.

Mshunqane said that Mohammed, who had testified that he proposed to the victim and they went to sleep in his flat, later changed his evidence, claiming that the complainant proposed to him and he accepted.

The magistrate said the state had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were guilty of the crimes. “When she [victim] was taken to Mohammed she was accompanied by the accused, the rewards were taken by the accused persons. She was encouraged and subjected to participate in prostitution.

“She was sexually penetrated by Mohammed after being sold to him. She was physically assaulted by all the accused after reporting that they had sold her for sex. She had no proper security at home, had to submit to prostitution and was trafficked for cash for the benefit of the accused. Mohammed penetrated a child and that constitutes rape.”

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