Woman (28) on child trafficking charges

Pertunia Ratsatsi and Getrude Makhafola

Pertunia Ratsatsi and Getrude Makhafola

The trial of a Mozambican woman charged with trafficking children for sexual exploitation and fraud started in the Pretoria magistrate's court yesterday.

Aldina dos Santos, 28, pleaded not guilty to 62 charges of rape, three of human trafficking and others of fraud. The proceedings were held in camera because the victims are under age.

Dos Santos was arrested at a brothel in Moreleta Park, Pretoria, on February 13.

The case is the first of its kind to be brought to court in South Africa since provisions in the law governing human trafficking came into effect in January this year.

The girls, aged 16 and 17, who were used as sex slaves, were rescued from the brothel and taken to a place of safety.

Dos Santos was also found in possession of three fraudulent passports.

Tlali Tlali, spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the case was very sensitive and the identities of the two witnesses had to be protected.

He said each witness would testify on various aspects of the case.

"We had one of the main witnesses testifying in camera yesterday."

He said the teenage witness would continue today.