Child trafficker slapped with eight-year jail term



In what has been interpreted to be a slap on the wrist, a 39-year old male convicted for harbouring five minor girls for the purposes of sex was yesterday sentenced to eight years in jail in the Windhoek High Court.


Swakopmund based Bertus Koch who hails from the informal settlement of DRC where he made a living from picking food on the dumpsites, initially escaped a charge of raping the minor girls of ages nine, 11 and 13.


He was consequently found guilty on five counts of trafficking the children on several occasions.


He lured them to his shack with food and sent them on errands during which times he would expose them to immoral sexual acts.


Passing judgement, Judge President Damaseb found that Koch, in spite of his poor background had betrayed the trust of the community by exploiting the minors.


What is aggravating was that the oldest girl was of the same age as his daughter and moreover, he brought his organ in contact with them even though he was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.


The fact that Koch’s victims were the same age as his two children and that he was 30 years older than the youngest victim and 26 years older than the oldest weighed heavily against his favour.


More so, Koch is said to have stuck up on the walls of his shack images of what the judge described as hardcore pornography.


As such, the court found that as much as he did not force the girls to come to his residence, but in the explicit images, they found something attractive and on top of that, he would give them little monies and food.


At some point, he would give the girls apples, powder milk, and little monies ranging from N$3.


In other instances, the children would be given hairspray which at one time had urine and had to be given to one of his victims’ mother.


On one occasion, Koch went as far as wrapping his organ with a plastic used for wrapping bread and proceeded to sexually violate the minors.


The court heard that he would apply baby oil on his organ, or force the girls to stimulate him.


He did not show remorse nor did he apologise for his crimes and it is presently not clear if he will seek to appeal against his sentence.


Ideally, child trafficking carries a sentence of 50 years in jail and a fine of N$1 million.