Three held on human trafficking charges

Alleged human trafficking recruiters arrested in two separate incidents, according to police

Police officers. File picture
Police officers. File picture
Image: Gareth Wilson

Three alleged human trafficking recruiters were arrested earlier this week, the Hawks’ Anti-Human Trafficking team said on Friday morning.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Philani Nkwalase said the most recent arrest was that of Leandre Meryl Williams Ayuk, 35, who appeared in the Springbok Magistrate’s Court in the Northern Cape on Wednesday.

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

Ayuk had allegedly recruited the victims for her husband, Edward Ayuk, who was arrested for similar offences in September 2017.

“Two victims, aged 16 and 29, were rescued at Edward’s house in Brooklyn, Cape Town, upon his arrest."

The arrest comes soon after two other alleged recruiters, Vincent Ndidi Onyejekwa, 39, and Uche Henry Ezenwa, 35, appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

“Onyejekwa and Ezenwa were allegedly linked as recruiters on cases in Bellville and Milnerton of trafficking in persons,” Nkwalase said.

“Both victims were lured and transported from Johannesburg to Cape Town with promises of lucrative job opportunities on those separate cases.”

Nkwalase said all three cases have been transferred to Cape Town and Bellville Regional courts respectively.

Ayuk and Ezenwa will appear in Cape Town Regional Court on the 17 and 18 September 17 and 18 while Onyejekwa will appear at Bellville Regional Court on September 18.