Kenyan woman’s sex slave claims dismissed

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Selma Ikela
Windhoek

The Kenyan woman who claimed she was trafficked into Namibia through a sex slave syndicate had apparently made up the story. Police investigations confirmed there was no evidence she was trafficked into the country or kept as a sex slave.

The woman also claimed she was abducted, sexually abused and had her travelling documents confiscated by her handler(s).
Namibian police investigations revealed that Joan Musenya Nthenge, 23, was last seen staying at a backpacker accommodation close to the Windhoek CBD, where she paid for herself. Police also found her bags, including her expired passport, at the facility she stayed at.
Nthenge, who arrived in the country via Wenela border post in Katima Mulilo from Zambia on June 21, had access to a cellphone and laptop, and communicated with various people while in the country. She was granted a visitor’s permit to stay in Namibia up to September 19.

Nthenge travelled from Kenya on June 16 and arrived on the same day in Tanzania. She departed on June 18 to Zambia, then Namibia.

A video clip by One Africa Television that went viral this week raised safety concerns when Nthenge, who applied for a finance intern job on Facebook in Namibia, claimed she was kept as a sex slave by her handler upon arriving in the country.

Nthenge said she managed to escape to the police who instead locked her up for 27 days at Klein Windhoek Police Station without helping her. The video further reported no charges were brought against her, nor did she have access to phone calls or a lawyer. In the video she said all she wanted was help to go back home.
Namibian Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said that through their investigations they have established that Nthenge was staying at a backpackers lodge and employees there had told the police she had left in the morning to get money to pay for her accommodation.

Police also further learnt, that before staying at the backpackers lodge, Nthenge was staying at a different facility in Ausspanplatz, where she stayed alone.

“She had a cellphone and laptop. Every now and then, there was a male visiting her but the male person would bring a child and leave her with the child. Other times he would overnight. This is to say Nthenge had ample time to report this to the police,” said Kanguatjivi.
Kanguatjivi further told New Era that Nthenge visited a police station during October and narrated her ‘ordeal’ to an officer whom she found standing outside.

Nthenge had claimed she was dumped by her handlers at a parking lot in the Windhoek CBD. The officer took Nthenge to the Khomas police regional crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Abner Agas, for her to be assisted further.

However, while Agas was trying to figure out how to assist Nthenge, she stormed out of the office running like a mad person into the street.

“He actually had to follow her, restrain her and bring her back to the station. The intention was not to arrest this woman but to investigate the story, since she claimed she was dumped in the street,” related Kanguatjivi.
He said Nthenge was taken to Klein Windhoek Police Station holding cells for her safety, while the police carried out their investigations.

The following day, Nthenge was taken to a social worker but after the interview session Nthenge claimed she wanted to go to the toilet but fled.

Kanguatjivi said Nthenge only came back to the police when she was caught by the City Police in the vicinity of Kenya House. He stated that by this time the police had established that Nthenge was not dumped in a parking lot by her alleged handlers.

The police said they got in touch with her family through the Kenyan embassy and arrangements were made for her to get an air ticket – and she travelled back home on November 23.
Although Nthenge is back in Kenya, Kanguatjivi said they are not done with the investigation and the file is not closed. “But one can say there were a lot of loopholes. Even the social worker’s report indicated there were lot of loopholes in her story,” he told New Era.

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