A South African court Wednesday sentenced a Nigerian man Ediozi Odi to six life sentences and an additional 129 years imprisonment, South Africa’s Independent Online reported.
Odi received three life sentences on three charges of human trafficking and three more life sentences for three charge of rape. He was convicted on 24 of the 29 charges against him.
Odi’s two drug runners, Nomsa Hlalele and Luke Botha got off lightly, receiving suspended sentences for the possession of drugs.
Odi’s bid to appeal against his convictions and sentences were also turned down.
The judge, Natvarlil Ranchod, said the court viewed human trafficking in an extremely serious light hence the “harshest sentences.”
The court heard evidence behind closed doors for months from, among others, three young victims around the age of 13 and 14, were lured from the streets by Odi’s recruits.
These girls were mostly vulnerable and came from poor families, court account showed. They were lured to a house, masqueraded as a shop and a barber, in Springs with promises of a better life.
The judge said the girls were forced to smoke a drug called “rocks,” a drug manufactured and sold by Odi and is believed to be highly addictive.
The girls told the court how they were taught to smoke the drug by one of Odi’s co-accused, Nomsa Hlalele.
Once high on the drugs, Odi himself raped these girls “to teach them the tools of the trade” as an initiation into the sex trade.
The girls were paid for their prostitution by means of drugs and they got hardly any food. The brothel master took all their proceeds.
The victims were locked up in the house for the duration of their stay, the court said, while Odi send his workers to prowl the streets for prospective clients.
A 14-year-old teenager was only rescued after a year, while two other victims were able to escape after a week, when the police raided the house following a tip-off that the brothel master was going to move them to another premises.
The court also heard evidence that some police officials were bribed to turn a blind eye as to what was happening in the brothel.
Judge Ranchod said that on the other hand, these girls were saved by other SAPS officials who took their work seriously.