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09.03.2009 Crime & Punishment

Chinese sex victim in tears

By Daily Guide

THE ORDEAL of an 18-year-old Chinese victim of human trafficking nearly sent some people crying in court as she narrated her story.

The young girl who had suffered emotionally, mentally and physically had a long story to tell Justice Elizabeth Ankoma through an interpreter at an Accra Circuit court when she was called to testify in the case in which three Chinese nationals had been remanded for allegedly transporting Chinese girls into the country for sexual exploitation.

The accused persons, James Xu Jin, the ringleader, Sam Shan Jin, his wife and Chow Xiou Ying had pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit crime and human trafficking.

The girl who could hardly hold back her tears as she narrated her story stated that she was deceived by her abusers that she was coming to Ghana to work in a restaurant only for her to end up doing prostitution.

The teenager for fear of being harmed or killed by the accused persons asked that the evidence should be taken in chambers; to which the judge obliged.

According to the pretty looking girl, her parents allowed her to follow the slave master and his wife because they assured her parents that they would take good care of her. And as their neighbours, she trusted them and therefore did not even ask what she was coming to do in Ghana.

Another reason why she joined them was because she needed money to pay a debt her family owed her uncle and auntie who provided money for surgery performed on her father's leg.

She disclosed that her father sustained the injuries through an accident while he and her mother were on their way to pick her up from school.

The school drop-out said she got her passport, visa and ticket from the accused persons and after converging at Shanghai she was introduced to two other girls who also came to Ghana with her.

The accused persons on arrival took them to casinos but did not tell them what to do. She said she lived in James' house near La police station where she slept with three men a day to fill the pocket of James, the slave master.

According to her, most of her other sexual encounters took place at hotels where she had sex with Chinese, Indians, and Lebanese men, excluding blacks. Her master charged $70 dollars per night or $40 dollars per hour. All the money obtained from her services went to James.

She lamented that anytime they refused James' demands, they paid a penalty of $50 a day and $1,500 a month. “I had no choice but to do as I was told because I could not raise that amount”.

She said although she had sex with men for several months, James kept all the money to himself with the justification that he was using the money to settle a $6,000 debt he used to process her passport, ticket and visa to Ghana.

Talking about how they got their clients, the girl stated that “we danced to entertain our clients anytime they came to the house for our services and as we danced they made their choices and paid the amounts involved to James. I was not happy with what I was doing. We always cried in our rooms but could not afford to leave Ghana”.

Realising how far she had gone with her narration, she paused and informed the court that she was afraid of going back to China since her life would be in danger. She explained that because the family of the accused was their neighbours, they would hang her and her family should she return. But the court gave her some assurance so she continued.

Her first encounter when she arrived in December 2007, according to her was with a Lebanese. She said she tried to resist the man but she was severely beaten by James who informed her that he had no restaurant. She could not run away because he had seized her passport.

She however breathed the air of freedom when she was taken back to China by Chow after 10 months of services. When she was leaving, James offered her $3,000; the only money she received from him.

James, after some months, returned to China and pleaded with her to come and assist him in his restaurant business because she could speak English.  He assured her that she would not be used for any further sexual activity.

As a result of the poverty in the home and also for the fact that she owed some people money including James, she followed him to Ghana. She revealed that she owed about $2,800.

On arrival, she was not sent to the restaurant as promised and when she inquired, James allegedly told her that he cannot open the restaurant because NPP had lost the election and asked her to continue with the prostitution.

The girl painfully recounted that she sometimes begged her clients to help her go back to China but this request fell on deaf ears.

According to her, on February 14, the police came to their house and arrested the accused persons and the victims.

Under cross examination by B.O.K. Johnson, the victim said she did not report the matter to the La police because she did not want to be pursued in Ghana. Even though she knew there was a Chinese Embassy here, she did not know the location.

She revealed that she did not inform her parents because no parent would allow her child do this kind of business. She explained that two others girls accompanied her when she came back to Ghana the second time including a 40-year old woman.

She further admitted that some of the clients gave them tips. A heap of items which included contraceptives were displayed in the court.

Earlier on Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a journalist who conducted the investigations leading to the arrest of the accused persons also testified.

He told the court how he went about his investigations. According to him he obtained information that prostitution was taking place at Peach Blossom Palace where the victims lived.

After he won the trust of a house help, he gained access to the house to see what happened there.

He tendered all audio discussions he had with his maid friend, video tapes of naked girls with one of his sources in bed, and video tapes of Chow taking money for services rendered by the girls among other things. His evidence was not completed.

This was because there was a power outage while he was showing some of the footage. The case has been adjourned to today.

By Mary Anane