Human trafficking ring masquerading as recruitment agency bust

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File image

The Hawks say they arrested three suspects linked to separate cases of trafficking of persons across provinces.

A human trafficking ring that allegedly lured victims by promising them high-paying jobs and then subjected them to a life of prostitution and drugs has been bust by the cops.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – better known as the Hawks – on Friday said its anti-human trafficking team had this week arrested three suspects linked to separate cases of trafficking of persons across provinces.

Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Philani Nkwalase said one of the arrested suspects, Leandre Meryl Williams Ayuk (35), appeared at the Springbok Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

“She allegedly recruited victims under false pretences to travel from Springbok to Cape Town. They were allegedly coerced to a life of drugs and prostitution on their arrival. Two victims managed to escape and returned home,” said Nkwalase.

“Ayuk allegedly recruited the victims for her husband Edward Ayuk [who was] also arrested for a similar offence back in September 2017.”

A 16-year-old girl and 29-year-old woman were rescued at Edward’s house in Brooklyn, Cape Town.

The captain said: “The two other alleged recruiters, Vincent Ndidi Onyejekwa (39) and Uche Henry Ezenwa (35), appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Monday.”

Nkwalase said soon after Onyejekwa and Ezenwa were arrested police were able to link them as the recruiters in the human trafficking matter that was uncovered in Cape Town.

Both victims were lured and transported from Johannesburg to Cape Town with promises of high-paying jobs.

Ayuk and Ezenwa will appear in Cape Town Regional Court on 17 September. Onyejekwa will appear at the Bellville Regional Court the next day.

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