Namibian Woman Nabbed For Sex Trafficking

By Werner Menges

A woman who was prosecuted on eight charges based on allegations that she procured a teenage girl from northern Namibia to become an unwilling sexual partner to two men in the Okahandja area in 2012 has been found guilty in the Windhoek High Court on three counts of rape and three counts of human trafficking.

Apart from the young woman who told the court that Tuufilwa Ndawina Jonas tricked her into leaving school in northern Namibia and into travelling to Okahandja, where Jonas promised she would get a job, three other young women also testified that Jonas approached them and offered them jobs or the option to become the girlfriends of male friends of hers, judge Naomi Shivute recounted when she delivered her judgement in Jonas’ trial on Wednesday.

It cannot be a coincidence that four witnesses testified about the same method that Jonas used in an attempt to recruit young women in northern Namibia to become the partners of men she knew in the Okahandja area, judge Shivute remarked.

In the face of that evidence, Jonas “only offered bare denials”, and her explanation that she did not recruit the one young woman who was the complainant in her case cannot reasonably possibly be true, the judge said.

Jonas (34) was charged with four counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, and three charges of trafficking in persons. All of the charges were based on allegations that she was involved in a scam that landed a schoolgirl from northern Namibia on Okahandja district farms, where she was forced into becoming a sexual partner to two men.

Jonas denied guilt on all of the charges at the start of her trial in June last year.

The complainant told the court that she was 18 years old when Jonas, promising her a job, persuaded her to travel to Okahandja in May 2012. However, after her arrival at the town, the complainant ended up on a farm where Jonas forced her into becoming the sexual partner of a man living on the farm.

The complainant said she stayed with the man for about two and a half months before she left the farm.

After that, another man, described by Jonas as a friend of hers, fetched the complainant from Jonas’ home, and took her to the farm where he was living. He also had sexual intercourse with her several times, the complainant said.

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As an orphan who came from a less privileged background, the complainant was a vulnerable person, judge Shivute said.

She found that Jonas “recruited, transferred and received the complainant by means of fraud, deception, the abuse of power or position of vulnerability”, and that the entire purpose of her promise to provide the complainant with a job “was to facilitate her sexual exploitation”.

By doing that, Jonas violated the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which made it an offence for anyone to participate in or to aid and abet the trafficking of persons in Namibia, the judge also found.

She further found that, although Jonas herself did not have sexual intercourse with the complainant, she coerced her to have intercourse with the two men. In terms of the Combating of Rape Act, that made Jonas guilty of rape, too, judge Shivute found.

Jonas was even given 10 kilogrammes of sugar and meat by one of the men in exchange for the complainant having sexual relations with him, the judge noted.

On the charge of attempted rape, though, judge Shivute found that the evidence did not prove that a third man had also made an attempt to rape the complainant. She further found that one of the rape charges that Jonas faced was a duplication of one of the other counts, and acquitted Jonas on that charge.

Jonas, who is being kept in police custody, has to appear in court again on Tuesday next week for a presentence hearing.

She is being represented by defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht.

State advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura is prosecuting.

Source: Namibian

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