The Accra Circuit Court hearing the case involving three Chinese nationals standing trial for trafficking girls for prostitution Monday toured the brothel run by the accused persons.

The court was moved at the instance of the prosecution, which wanted to prove that the accused persons were not running a restaurant as they had claimed in court.

James Xu Jin, his wife, Chou Xiou Ying and Sam Shan Zifan, James’s younger brother, have each been charged with conspiracy and human trafficking and they have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

They have been refused bail.

The entourage included the trial judge, Mrs Elizabeth Ankumah, the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police Ms Mary Agbozo, counsel for the accused persons, Mr B. O. K. Johnson, court officials, the police and reporters.

The accused persons were also brought to witness events as was required by law.

During a tour of the house, called Peach Blossom Palace and its surrounding areas, persons who shared common boundaries with the accused persons told court officials that they were not aware the accused persons operated a restaurant.

They also claimed that the main gate to Peach Blossom Palace was always locked and opened to only whites who visited the house on a regular basis.

According to the landlady, she was not allowed into the house anytime she visited, She also claimed James had rented the place for GH¢350 a month.

The room shared by the girls was furnished with six twin beds and two single beds. There were also two separate rooms with the inscriptions “A 1” and “B 1 “, a small kitchen containing greasy bowls and saucepans, broken louvre blades, a dirty floor, dusty windows, a dilapidated kitchen cabinet, among others.

Condoms, birth control pills, shoes, brassieres, ruffled beds, combs and many items were scattered on the floor of the rooms shared by the girls who were hosted by the accused persons.

The narrow hall which was allegedly used as a dancing floor for the girls to entertain their male visitors was decorated with Chinese inscriptions.

Earlier, Zifan had told the court during cross-examination that he had not written in his statement that the girls were into prostitution.

He also denied opening doors for men who patronised the brothel or receiving $600 as his monthly salary.

Zifan also admitted taking one of the girls to a hotel to meet a man and further stated that he served as an interpreter between the girls and the men who patronised the restaurant out of kindness.

A defence witness, Pan Jiasong, who claimed to operate a restaurant at Tabora, a suburb of Accra, said James told him that the girls were Chou’s visitors from China.

According to the witness, he had met the girls several times at a casino in a popular hotel in Accra.

The witness told the court during cross-examination that he had visited the house more than 20 times.

He also claimed he had eaten fried rice and chicken at the restaurant that was operated by the three accused persons.

Jiasong denied patronising the services of the girls.

Hearing continues on Wednesday, April 8, 2009.

The victims, who were recruited from Harbin, a city in China, had stated in their evidence that they had been recruited under the guise that they were to assist Jin and Chou to run a restaurant in Accra for good salaries but on arrival in Ghana they were forced into prostitution by Chou and James.

The story of the girls, whose names have been withheld, are similar in terms of the fact that they all owed Jin, who paid for t1ieir air fare and other transport arrangements, their passports were seized and they had to pay a penalty of $50 a day or $500 anytime they refused to offer sex, which they were forced to do sometimes four or five times in a day.

They also said they relied on tips from their clients, who were mostly Lebanese, Chinese and Indians.

Source: Daily Graphic