The six life sentences, and an additional 129 years imprisonment, handed down to convicted human trafficker, Ediozi Odi, is a clear indication of government’s intent that human trafficking and related crimes will be met with the harshest sentences possible by South Africa’s courts.
In a landmark ruling, the Gauteng High Court this week handed down the sentence to Odi, a Nigerian national, for human trafficking and related charges after he kept three young girls hostage to work as sex slaves.
“This ruling shows that those found guilty of human trafficking and related crimes will be met with the harshest sentences possible,” said Acting GCIS Director General Phumla Williams in a statement.
“Government remains committed to ensuring that all South Africans are and feel safe. Our country is at a place in time where the crimes against women and children are reaching alarming levels and government will not allow this atrocious behaviour to continue in South Africa.”
Human trafficking, defined as a modern-day form of slavery, is a global problem and to this end the country’s blueprint, the National Development Plan, makes provision for building safer communities.
“This scourge of abuse, violence, femicide, and human trafficking cannot go unchallenged and requires every citizen and organisation to play their role to create a safer place for all,” Williams said.
Williams said government, through the various pieces of legislations and policies, such as the Human Trafficking Act, is committed to ensuring the safety of children.
She added that government’s emergency plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa will go a long way in addressing the national crisis of gender-based -violence and femicide.
The plan strengthens existing measures and introduces new interventions in five principal areas:
– how to prevent gender-based violence
– strengthening the criminal justice system
– taking steps to enhance the legal and policy framework
– ensuring adequate support and healing for victims of
– improving the economic power of women in our country.
We can and must do more to protect the lives of our children, said Williams.