Arguments in child prostitution case next month

Home Crime and Courts Arguments in child prostitution case next month


Arguments on the appropriate sentence to be imposed in a criminal case in which a woman found guilty of child trafficking in the High Court recently will be heard early August.

Swakopmund resident, Johanna Lukas, was found guilty on charges of trafficking children for exploitation by High Court Judge President Petrus Damaseb. On June 4 this year, Damaseb found Lukas guilty on five charges of human trafficking, a crime in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

On Thursday the matter was remanded to August 4 to allow the State and the defendant an opportunity to file written arguments.

Lukas was also found guilty on five counts of rape after it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that Lukas had procured two teenage girls to be sexually exploited by suspected paedophile, (identified in court proceedings as a South African male named Marthinus Pretorius) at Swakopmund between April and June 2012.

While testifying in mitigation of her sentence last month, Lukas admitted to Damaseb that a fellow inmate impregnated her, while they were awaiting trial. This reportedly happened in the police holding cells at Narraville in Walvis Bay.

She however declined to name the father of her youngest child, saying she feared for her life. She told Damaseb only that the man was a fellow inmate.

New Era reported extensively on the matter at the time it came to light that Lukas became pregnant while in custody.

She also told the court she first got pregnant at the age of 18, while upgrading her Grade 10 marks through Namcol.

Her first child was born on September 9, 2010 and lives with his grandmother in the north, while her second son was born on November 11, 2011 and is being raised by her mother in Swakopmund.

Her third child, born in custody, saw the light of day on August 20 last year and also lives with Lukas’ mother.
Lukas was denied bail during her last court appearance and remains in custody.

Gwen Nelwembe, a Zambian national who was initially charged alongside Lukas on multiple charges of human trafficking and supplying young girls to Pretorius, was released without charge at the start of the trial in March this year.

Evidence presented during the trial it emerged that Lukas recruited three minor girls at Swakopmund during April, May and June 2012 to be sexually exploited by Pretorius, who was reportedly working as a contractor at Trekkopje mine at the time.

Two of the girls were primary school pupils, aged 13 and 14 at the time of the incidents. The prosecution alleged that Lukas had allowed Pretorius to rape the girls on several occasions during June 2012. Pretorius absconded at the time of Lukas’ arrest and has not been taken into custody. He is believed to have fled to South Africa.