28 years for sex trafficking

The victim was lured to Okahandja with empty promises of a job opportunity and then given to a group of men at the farm, who sexually exploited her.

05 December 2019 | Justice

A woman found guilty of human trafficking after luring a young girl from northern Namibia to Okahandja, where the victim was exploited sexually, was on Tuesday sentenced to an effective 28 years imprisonment.

Tuufilwa Ndawina Jonas, 34, was found guilty on 31 July by High Court judge Naomi Shivute on three counts of rape and three counts of trafficking in persons for luring the girl from Okahenge village in Omusati to a farm in the Okahandja District in the Otjozondjupa Region, where she was sexually exploited by a group of men.

Jonas is related to the victim, who was 15 in 2017 when the crimes occurred.

On the three counts of rape, Jonas was sentenced to five years imprisonment on each count, but one of the five-year sentences will run concurrently, leading to an effective 10 years imprisonment for the rape charges.

On the three counts of trafficking in persons, she was sentenced to six years imprisonment on each count, which means she will be jailed for an effective 28 years.

“The most aggravating factors in this matter are that convict Tuufilwa Jonas forced the young girl to drop out of school with empty promises of a job opportunity and sexually exploited her when she gave the victim to a group of men at the farm. At the time, Jonas also made several threats to the victim,” Shivute said while delivering the sentence.

The judge further said the victim suffered trauma because of Jonas' actions.

“This case was a premeditated offence and the convict has totally destroyed the life of the victim,” she said.

Jonas had testified in mitigation of evidence that she had “broken a lot of people's hearts as a result of my wrongful actions.

“What I did to the complainant is not good… I'm wholeheartedly sorry for what I did to the complainant.”

She further told the court she regretted causing the victim to leave school, and also appealed to the court not to impose a long prison sentence, as this would destroy her chances of rehabilitation.

Jonas initially denied involvement in the matter on 23 April when she entered not guilty pleas to the charges against her.

The victim fell pregnant as a result of the sexual exploitation during her stay at the farm in the Okahandja area.

State advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura was the prosecutor, while Legal Aid lawyer Milton Engelbrecht appeared for Jonas.

The accused is a first-time offender with no record of previous criminal offences.

She is the mother of five minor children.

NAMPA

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