8 October 2012

Namibia: Police Bust Child Sex Ring

POLICE in the Erongo Region on Thursday arrested two women allegedly involved in the prostitution of minors in Swakopmund. The main suspect, a South African man, escaped arrest but the police are pursuing him.

It is alleged that the main suspect, who was working at a uranium mine at the coast, paid the two women, Nalwembe Ngwena (36) and Johanna Lukas (20), large sums of money to bring "virgins" to his house in Vineta where he allegedly raped them on several occasions. One of the victims was allegedly a relative of Ngwena's, police sources said.

It is suspected that cash of up to N$10 000 was paid to the women to "deliver" the girls. It is uncertain how many girls were exploited, since the crimes apparently started in April. The ages of the victims were between 13 and 17.

Ngwena and Lukas made a first appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court on Friday on charges under the Combating of Rape Act.

Specific charges that may follow could include statutory rape and trading in children for sex.

They were denied bail and the case was postponed to November 8. They are being held in custody at Walvis Bay.

The Namibian Police's Woman and Child Protection Unit are investigating the matter.

The alleged crimes apparently came to light when some of the victims told their friends, who in turn told the principal of a Swakopmund school. The principal informed social workers, who called the police.

"Maybe through the media more victims will come forward. There are still uncertainties that need to be investigated, such as whether there is a syndicate behind this business and if there are more suspects. Until now it only seems to be the two women and the main suspect, but the police are responsible to investigate all the possibilities," Erongo's Crime Investigation Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Ottilie Kashipuulwa, told The Namibian.

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