Edo mother of 7 bags 6 years for human trafficking

edo State High Court, Benin, has sentenced a 58-year-old mother of seven, Mrs. Joy Raji, to six years imprisonment for human trafficking.

The accused, who hails from Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, was arraigned on a three-count charge of deceitful inducement, forced labour and slave dealings, contrary to the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2013, as amended.

She was alleged to have trafficked an 18-year-old-girl who worked as an artist designer in Benin City to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, for exploitative purposes.

She was also alleged to have collaborated with her brother, Evans Aghahowa (now at large), and introduced to the victim the idea of travelling to Kuwait for supposed better living.
Various sums of money were said to have been collected from the victim’s mother, Mrs. Mary Osula, who is a trader, to facilitate the trip.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against her.
At the trial, prosecutor for the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffickng in Persons called three witnesses and tendered exhibits, including a slave uniform passport, travel tickets and bank teller, to prove its case.

According to the victim, who testified in court, she was sold from one person to another without proper care in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

She said  in Kuwait, “a certain man took me to a 20-storey building and I was locked up inside. I was not given food; I ate from remnants I could find. When I complained, the man told me that he paid 750 Kuwait dinar to purchase me.”

The victim was later resold to a woman in Saudi Arabia, who kept giving her work to do without food and not letting her go out of the house.
The victim was held in bondage in two countries and her life and liberty were under the absolute control of her ‘Oga’ and ‘Madam.’

The victim ran away once to the police in Kuwait but was returned to the madam who purchased her.
Delivering judgment, Justice Alero Edodo Eruaga found the accused guilty and sentenced her to four years imprisonment on the first count and two years imprisonment on count two without option of fine.  The sentences are to run concurrently.

NAPTIP had last month secured the conviction of three human traffickers in Edo State, who were sentenced to two years imprisonment each, for trafficking two female secondary school students, aged 16 and 18 years, to Cote d’Ivoire for prostitution, contrary to the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act.

, 2015.