Crime & Court

‘Sold For Sex’ Trial: Witness Tells ‘Josie’ Threatened Her

Josevata Werelagi, 35, appeared before Judge Justice Daniel Goundar. He denies three counts of domestic trafficking in children and one count of aggravated sexual servitude.
27 Nov 2019 12:04
‘Sold For Sex’ Trial: Witness Tells ‘Josie’ Threatened Her
Accused Josevata 'Josie' Werelagi. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A witness yesterday told the court how a man name “Josie” took her to Rewa Street in Suva so he could sell her for sex.

The disclosure was made by the 19-year-old, prosecution’s first witness, who was allegedly forced or threatened to enter or remain in sex work.

Josevata Werelagi, 35, appeared before Judge Justice Daniel Goundar. He denies three counts of domestic trafficking in children and one count of aggravated sexual servitude.

Day 2

The witness told the court that she was allegedly threatened by “Josie” not to be cunning towards him because he had many transgender friends who could run after her and assault her.

She told the court that she was afraid to run away from him, afraid to escape because of the threats. She said she was scared that Werelagi’s friends could catch her and do something to her.

She told the court that Werelagi allegedly took total control of her and made sure that she was appropriately dressed before being sold.

She said she would wear miniskirts and tops given by the accused at his aunt’s house in Waila.

The witness told the court that Werelagi allegedly used to prepare her clothes, tie her hair and dress her in a way that made her look older as she was only 15-years-old at the time.

She also told the court that they would walk to the bus stop opposite Lelean school and take a minivan to Samabula where they would get off and walk to the bus stop near the Gospel school.

She also highlighted to the court that on the night of July 19, 2015, a man picked her up in a Pajero and took her to a motel where she had sex with the man.

She told the court that the accused “Josie”, would speak with the men and order her to go with them for sexual intercourse.

She told the court that after the sexual intercourse at the motel, the man and her got dressed. She said the man gave her money and she hid some in her bra and was later dropped at the bus stop in Rewa Street.

The witness also told the court that she could not recall how much money she was given, however, she told the court that she hid some money because she knew if the accused saw the money, he would take it.

She told the court that after she was dropped at the bus stop, Werelagi and her took a stroll and another vehicle stopped by them.

She told the court that the accused spoke to the driver of the vehicle and then the accused told her to get in the vehicle.

The witness told the court that Werelagi allegedly handed her a packet of condoms to her and told her to go with the man and come back to him at the same spot.

She told the court that the man took her to one dark road and asked her for the condom which she handed to him.

She told the court that the man asked her to take off her skirt and he put the condom on and had sexual intercourse with her.

The witness told the court that after the sexual intercourse, they wore their clothes and the man later dropped her to where Werelagi was waiting for her. She recalled that she received money from the man, however, she could not recall how much money she was given but she told the court that she bought her food and a packet of BH 10 cigarette.

She told the court that when she met with Werelagi, she gave him the rest of the money.

She highlighted to the court that when she met Werelagi, she could smell alcohol on him and figured that he may have been drinking.

She told the court that Werelagi then told her to take a walk with him to go back home.

She recalled that they walked to Samabula and took a minivan to Nakasi where they got off and bought a serve of fish and chips.

She told the court that from Nakasi they took another vehicle to Dilkusha and from there another private vehicle dropped them to Waila Service Station to go to Werelagi’s aunt’s house.

The trial continues today. Werelagi has been further remanded in custody.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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