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Sex trafficking hits home in Botswana

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Imagine being excited about getting married to a prince charming that stays outside your country and invites you, only to come and be turned into a sex slave! That is exactly how the world has become.

According to Kagisano Women’s Shelter director Lorato Moalosi-Sakufiwa, young women have become targets of sex maniacs who promise them jobs, scholarships and even marriage. In the past two years, the Shelter has dealt with two sex trafficking cases, involving two minors from outside Botswana. These are young girls under the age of 18. One was from a neighbouring country and was brought into Botswana by a non-citizen couple that promised to take her to school in Botswana.

The other from the northern part of the continent and promised by another couple from her home country residing in Botswana, that they had found a job for her in Botswana. Upon their arrival, the young girls were exploited by their hosts by being turned into sex objects in return for money. “Various men slept with them for money and their hosts took the money,” said Sakufiwa. After some tip-offs, the girls were taken to the shelter for security and they have since been taken to back to their home countries. The perpetrators got arrested. She explained that even though sex trafficking is subtle in Botswana, it can grow anytime like in other countries.

“They take advantage of the women and girls’ vulnerability. For example, a non-citizen can promise a young girl from his home country marriage, and call her to Botswana, only for her to turn into a sex slave,” she said. As for other cases, she said it is possible for a perpetrator to take his victim from a remote area in Botswana and make her a sex slave in Gaborone. Understanding Sex trafficking Sex trafficking is a crime when women, men or children are forcefully involved in commercial sex acts. It is a form of human trafficking. The Directorate of Public Prosecution announced last year that they were in the process of prosecuting 15 cases of human trafficking involving Batswana and foreign nationals. Speaking at the Botswana judicial colloquium on anti-human trafficking, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi said  Botswana Police Service (BPS) and Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) have arrested and prosecuted a number of perpetrators involved in human trafficking or transiting of victims to neighbouring countries.

“Although the inclination in such cases is towards the victim, our known legal systems remain important in that every suspect should be subjected to the normal processes of investigation and prosecution within the provisions of Botswana laws in particular the anti-human trafficking Act of 2014, the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,” he said. He emphasised that Botswana has intensified its efforts and interventions against human trafficking through public education, capacity building and training workshops for different role players. Botswana, he said, has a long term strategy in the form of an anti-human trafficking national action plan 2017-2020. Last year, the US State Department included Botswana in its ‘Tier 2’ list of countries, the US accuses of not fully meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

The report released on 30 September, however said Botswana is making significant efforts to do so. It shows that government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period hence, Botswana remained on Tier 2. “The government demonstrated increasing efforts by investigating and prosecuting more trafficking cases than in the previous reporting period and obtaining its first trafficking conviction under the 2014 Anti-Human Trafficking Act,” it says. It says the government also identified more victims of trafficking, established a specialised anti-trafficking unit, and appointed two officials, trained on human trafficking, to monitor the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases.

However, the report says, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas, including failure to amend the 2009 Children’s Act to include in the definition of child trafficking, the commercial sexual exploitation of children without requiring the means of force, coercion, or movement. It also says that government’s efforts to protect victims were uneven. “In the government’s first trafficking conviction, the trafficker served only eight months of an 18-month sentence in prison, although the government’s appeal of that sentence was pending at the end of the reporting period,” the report says. The report recommended that Botswana should formalise the system to refer victims to social services and ensure all victims receive protective services.

The country should also amend the anti-trafficking laws to ensure penalties are sufficiently stringent by eliminating fines in lieu of prison time and disallow suspended sentences when sentencing convicted traffickers. The US also urged Botswana to increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers; continue to encourage victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers through formal procedures. The government investigated 12 trafficking cases and prosecuted 18 defendants under the 2014 Act, compared with five investigations and seven prosecutions in the previous reporting period.

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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