Bringing Light to the Darkness of Human Trafficking (Trafficking in Persons)

marthinus pretorius
ACCUSED ... Marthinus Pretorius, who is due to stand trial on rape and other charges involving three teenage girls, being uncuffed by a police officer in the Swakopmund Magistrates' Court on Friday.

A SOUTH African man, Marthinus Pretorius, who used to live at Swakopmund while working at a mining company in Erongo, should stand trial in the High Court on 19 charges related to child sex, trafficking and rape, prosecutor general Martha Imalwa has directed.

Pretorius (46) made his first appearance before Swakopmund magistrate Conchita Olivier on Friday, and was informed of the charges he is facing and Imalwa's decision to transfer his case to the Windhoek High Court, where he is expected to make a first appearance on 23 January.

While Pretorius opted to apply for legal aid, he was also informed that he would be able to apply for bail after appearing in the High Court. Until then, he will spend time in the holding cells at Walvis Bay.

Pretorius is charged with six counts of human trafficking, seven counts of rape, five charges of assault by threat, and one of malicious damage to property.

The alleged crimes took place between 2010 and 2012 at Swakopmund. Besides involving a woman with whom he had a domestic relationship, the crimes Pretorius is accused of also involved three girls who were then aged 13 and 14.At the time police investigated the allegations and two women were arrested, Pretorius had fled to South Africa. He was, however, arrested by the South African police in April last year, after which an extradition process commenced. Pretorius was extradited from South Africa to Namibia on Thursday.

In the charges Pretorius is due to face, the prosecution is alleging that the girls were brought to Pretorius' house in Vineta, Swakopmund, with the intention to enable him to have sexual intercourse with them – some on several occasions. At other times the alleged crimes took place at Mondesa. He also allegedly knew that the girls were being forced by their guardian to have intercourse with him.

Pretorius is said to have paid N$10 000 for having sex with the minors.

The assault and malicious damage to property charges are related to an incendiary domestic relationship with a woman.

A Namibian woman, Johanna Lukas (24), who allegedly provided two teenage girls to Pretorius for sexual purposes in 2012, was sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment in August 2015, after High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb convicted her on five counts of human trafficking and five charges of rape.

Another woman, Zambian national Gwen Nelwembe, was acquitted after a crucial witness in respect of the charges that she faced could not be located. She was accused of having recruited a girl in 2012 to be sexually exploited by Pretorius.

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