30 July 2007

South Africa: Young Girls Used As Sex Workers

A Khayelitsha woman and her young boyfriend are facing child trafficking and rape-related charges after they ran a brothel from their shack using girls aged between 10 and 14 years.

Shocking details emerged of the girls being "sold" to men for between R50 and R80 after which they were either raped in an unused school building on the Mfuleni-Faure road or in the shack which attracted regular clients from a nearby shebeen.

Western Cape police spokesman Captain Randall Stoffels confirmed that Vuyisani Tshoko (24) and Nosiphiwo Nyandeni (37) faced charges relating to rape and child trafficking.

Police have not released further details as the investigation is still ongoing, but Simelela Rape Centre revealed in a statement that four young girls had been found at the filthy shack on April 27 where police also found used condoms, rotting food and bare mattresses.

One of the 10-year-old girls led police to the shack after a man exposed himself to her and she fled.

Nyandeni had been living in the shack with her boyfriend Tshoko and three of her own children who were reportedly not used as sex workers.

According to the children they were encouraged by Nyandeni to break into their own homes and steal money and cellphones.

Shocked counsellors and health workers at Simelela Rape Centre in Khayelitsha have released details on the incident in the hope of alerting parents.

"It is the first time that we have encountered children being used as sex workers," said a Simelela staff member.

"Our greatest fear is that other children are also being used in this manner. We are not trying to sensationalise issues, we really want to just try to reach as many parents as possible. It was a hard process for us before we got to the point where we could talk about it and we are hoping by doing so we can also heal," said the staff member.

Stoffels said the Khayelitsha Family Violence, Child and Sexual offences Unit were still investigating the case and that no further arrests had been made.

Both the accused appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrates court on July 20 for a bail application which was denied and they remain in custody.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for August 8.

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