Girl recollects sex-enslavement ordeal

A brave young woman supposedly sold into sexual slavery by an older woman from her village in Northern Namibia has over the past two days narrated a tale of suffering and the misery she endured since she set foot in Okahandja under a false promise of employment before Judge Naomi Shivute in the Windhoek High Court.

According to the young woman who may not be named to protect her identity, her life was destroyed when she decided to follow Tuufilwa Jonas, 32 to Okahandja for work she was promised.

There was never any work, she said and continued, the accused only brought me to Okahandja for me to have sex with men.

Speaking through an Oshiwambo interpreter in the victim friendly room, the woman started to cry when she saw Jonas on a TV screen from the room in which she testified.

She however, identified Jonas as the person who convinced her to leave school in her village and follow her to Okahandja under the false pretense she will be given work.

But, said the woman, from the moment she arrived in Okahandja it became clear to her that the only reason Jonas brought her to Okahandja was for her to sleep with men Jonas chose for her. According to the girl, Jonas at one stage accused her of not being interested in money because she did not want to sleep with men for money.

She informed the court that as soon as she arrived in Okahandja, Jonas took her to the first man she was to stay with, John Puariune and when she refused she was threatened and beaten to obey.

After a couple of months she was taken to another man, only identified as Phillip, but she refused and was instead taken to another man called Nico where she was subjected to harsh treatment. According to her, Nico used to tell her that when he arrives at the house they shared she was to be naked and in bed waiting for him and if she wasn't he would beat her.

Jonas is facing five counts of rape and three counts of trafficking in persons with regards to the woman who was 17-years and 10 months old at the time. She pleaded not guilty to all counts on Monday and her State funded lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, informed the court that the pleas is in accordance with his instructions and that they will not submit a plea explanation, but will reserve their right to remain silent and put the burden of proof on all the allegations on the State.

Jonas is facing the charges after she allegedly trafficked the young girl from Okahenge village in the Omusati Region for sexual exploitation during 2012. According to the State, she lured the girl with false promises of employment to Okahandja where she sold her into sexual slavery.

The case will continue today and Jonas remains in custody at the Klein Windhoek Police Station.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia