In an unusual case of human trafficking, three Chinhoyi teenagers allegedly took two other teenagers hostage and transported them to Harare and forced them to join Satanism.
The teenagers — aged between 14 and 15 — recently appeared at the Chinhoyi Regional Magistrates’ Court charged with human trafficking as defined under Section 3(1)(a) of the Presidential Powers Act.
The court heard that the alleged gang leader, a 15-year-old girl, teamed up with two boys both aged 14 and doing Form Two at a Chinhoyi school, lured and transported a 14-year-old girl together with her 10-year-old sister.
The complainants are in Form Two and Grade Five respectively.
Regional magistrate Never Katiyo heard that on May 18 this year, the three suspects, acting in connivance, proceeded to their victims’ residence at around 8pm where upon arrival they lured them to follow them to Harare for a “choir session”.
While still at the residence, the suspects instructed their alleged victims to steal money from the house and the elder sister stole $60 which was subsequently seized by the 15-year-old gang leader.
Besides taking cash, the suspects’ leader is also alleged to have taken, from her victims, a Nokia cellphone with a NetOne line before instructing the two sisters to follow her to Chinhoyi town centre en route to Harare.
The court heard that when they arrived in Harare, the girl took the victims to a fastfoods outlet, along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue where she was later picked up by her boyfriend, leaving her accomplices in charge of their victims the whole night.
The following day, the gang leader allegedly came back and took the victims to Epworth where she gave them $10 and asked them to look for accommodation before she again disappeared with her boyfriend.
The court heard, the girl’s accomplices were left in charge of the victims in Epworth at a certain rented accommodation from May 19 to 23 while food was provided for by the gang leader who was in constant communication with her accomplices.
On May 24, the two victims were taken to the Kopje area in Harare where they were ordered to join Satanism, but they refused, prompting the 15-year-old girl to dump them.
The minors were later taken to Shawasha Flats in Mbare by the girls’ accomplices where they found refuge from one Pauline Ntambo until the intervention of the police.
All the suspects, through their lawyer Caleb Mutandwa, pleaded not guilty to the charge and told the court that they had planned music recording in Harare, but their plans later went off the track prompting the 15-year-old girl to ask the minors to look for accommodation in Epworth.
The alleged gang leader told the court that while discussing her plans with a colleague in Chinhoyi, the alleged elder victim overheard the conversation and asked to join her.
She said after volunteering, the girl asked if her 10-year-old sister could also join as a dancer.
Chipo Hungwe is prosecuting and the trial continues tomorrow.