Three charged for trafficking mentally disabled girl, 13

The uncle of a teenage girl has been charged along with two others of human trafficking
The uncle of a teenage girl has been charged along with two others of human trafficking
Image: Gallo Images/ iStock

The uncle of a mentally disabled teenager along with two others are standing trial for human trafficking after they allegedly sold a mildly mentally disabled 13-year-old girl into marriage. 

It is alleged that the girl, who cannot be named, was forced to marry a 61-year-old man who was known to her uncle.

According to court documents the girl, whose mother died when she was nine, went to live with her uncle in KwaDukuza, Kwa-Zulu-Natal in 2012.

The girl’s uncle, who has been charged with human trafficking, is not being identified to protect the identity of the victim.

He has also not yet pleaded to the charges.

The three accused appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.

During December 2014 the girl accompanied the daughter of one of the accused,  a 63-year-old woman who has also not yet pleaded to the charges, to visit her mother.

From there, in January 2015, the girl went to live with the 63-year-old woman’s daughter in Bizana where she attended school.

The following year the 61-year-old man from Greenbushes entered into lobola negotiations with the victim’s uncle and in November 2016 the then 13-year-old victim was told she would not return to school and would be married to the 61-year-old.

The 63-year-old woman, whose daughter had been looking after the girl, then allegedly put the girl in a taxi destined for Port Elizabeth.

When she arrived at Njoli Square, the 61-year-old man is said to have met her there before taking her to his Greenbushes home where he allegedly instructed her to undress and get into bed.

It is alleged that when the teenager resisted the man’s advances he strangled her and forcefully had sex with her.

In January 2017 the man instructed his stepdaughter to take the girl to buy clothes and a bus ticket to Durban.

When she arrived in Durban she was met by the woman whose daughter had been looking after her and taken to Bizana where she allegedly stayed in her "husband’s" new house and worked and lived as the daughter-in-law of the woman.

During April 2017 the girl was allegedly sent back to Port Elizabeth after she was caught speaking to another girl her age.

When she arrived in Port Elizabeth she was allegedly taken back to the man’s house in Greenbushes where he raped her on various occasions.

According to the indictment, the girl was later assisted by another woman  to escape from the man and the matter was reported to police.

All three accused face two charges of human trafficking while the girl’s "husband" faces two additional charges of rape.

On Wednesday state prosecutor advocate Zelda Swanepoel told the court that the state was ready to proceed with the trial which has been set down to start on March 11.

None of the accused entered a plea. 

All three are out on bail. 

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