Russian national Alexander Krylov and his Namibian counterpart Anna Engelbrecht were convicted on charges of rape and trafficking in persons.
Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen on Monday convicted Krylov on 10 counts of rape and 10 counts of trafficking in persons, as well as a count of supplying children under the age of 18 with cigarettes. She also convicted Engelbrecht on three counts of rape and three counts of trafficking in persons.
The 62-year-old Krylov admitted that he had intercourse with at least five under-aged girls during 2017, but denied that he raped any of them.
The duo faced 42 counts of rape and child trafficking, in addition to a charge of supplying minors with cigarettes.
The judge said Krylov admitted to transporting the under-aged girls in his care for sexual exploitation. If that is not trafficking persons for sexual exploitation, the judge, said, then it would be a travesty of justice. She observed that the complainants, although they all consented to the sexual encounters, were immature and susceptible to coercion. “They did not reach the age of majority, and the accused persons exploited that immaturity,” Judge Claasen stressed. She further said it was not a once-off exploitation, but continued for months, and in fact became an organised scheme where the victims were encouraged to lure other unsuspecting young girls into this net. She said this is a compelling case where the issue of coercive circumstances is to be determined.
“It would be a gross travesty of justice if the court does not find coercive circumstances,” the judge remarked. According to her, the fact that Krylov had multiple sexual encounters with the young girls against payments is an indication of unlawful intention. Furthermore, the fact that the girls came from disadvantaged backgrounds is a factor to be taken into account. This, she said, made them ideal prey for sexual predators. However, the judge said, with some of the sexual acts committed at the same time, it would be a duplication of charges if she were to find him guilty on all counts. As such, she will take that into account when determining the verdict. With regards to Engelbrecht, the judge said that she facilitated the exchange between Krylov and his victims, and that someone who facilitates the rape of another person is guilty of the offence. She added that Engelbrecht was instrumental in the transportation of the victims to Krylov’s flat.
Although the lawyer of Krylov and Engelbrecht asked the court to extend their bail pending the sentencing, State advocate Palmer Khumalo strenuously objected, and asked that the bail be cancelled. Judge Claasen agreed with the State, and remanded them in custody, pending the finalisation of the case. The matter was postponed to 22 February.