Angola playground for accused sex trafficker

Bento dos Santos Kangamba is accused of sex trafficking in Brazil.

Bento dos Santos Kangamba is accused of sex trafficking in Brazil.

(GIN)—An army general close to Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has been red listed on the Interpol wanted list by Brazilian police. He’s accused of trafficking women for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

But, Bento dos Santos Kangamba is not living in fear but enjoying the good life among Angola’s newly-minted millionaires.

There is no extradition treaty between Angola and Brazil so the politician can indefinitely avoid arrest.

As an extra level of security, Dos Santos Kangamba is married to the niece of the president and is a die-hard supporter of Angola’s ruling MPLA party.

The trafficking network was uncovered by Brazilian police in a year-long operation called Operação Garina, led by the federal police commissioner of São Paulo, Luis Tempestini. Garina means young girl in Angolan slang.

The alleged trafficking was said to have been running for at least 10 years and to have involved a total turnover of $45 million.

The Angolan Parliament approved a treaty for the transfer of prisoners between the two countries in 2011 but President Dos Santos failed to sign the treaty into law. The government has offered no explanation for the delay.

In June this year, police tried to detain Kangamba in Monaco in connection with the transportation of $3 million in cash from Portugal to France. He avoided arrest by using his diplomatic passport.

Among items seized by police were a registry of diamond transactions and banking transfers in Israel and Switzerland.

Kangamba has denied all accusations relating to the alleged trafficking of women and money laundering.

According to the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, Angola is a source and destination for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Angolans are reportedly forced to work in agriculture, construction, domestic service and artisanal diamond mines within the country.

Underage girls, as young as 13, work in prostitution while some Angolan boys are taken to Namibia for forced labor in cattle herding.

Angolan adults may use children under the age of 12 for forced criminal activity, as children cannot be tried in court. Forced begging also occurs in Angola. Angolan women and children are subjected to domestic servitude in South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Namibia, and European nations, primarily Portugal.

Despite the crimes against Angola’s growing poor and jobless population, European nations are increasingly looking to do business with Angola—Africa’s second biggest oil producer, pumping 1.8 million barrels a day.

President Dos Santos this week held talks with French officials, ending years of frosty ties between the two countries. The standoff was precipitated by the so-called “Angolagate” scandal involving French arms sales to Luanda in the 1990s. It was considered one of the largest corruption cases on the continent with multimillions owed to taxpayers ending up in private pockets of Angolan officials.

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Category: Africa Briefs, Crime & Safety

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