A former nurse has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for trafficking women from Nigeria to Germany.
Josephine Iyamu is the first person to be prosecuted under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act, according to Metro UK.
Iyamu charged her victims between 30,000 euros and 38,000 euros ($44,000) to smuggle them from Nigeria to Germany. But rather than getting closer to attaining a better life, once they arrived, she forced them into prostitution to pay off the debt. She gained psychological control of the six women by forcing them to perform a Voodoo or “juju” ritual with witchdoctors.
“They exert an insidious control which an expert witness has said is more powerful than chains,” said Kay Mellor, a senior investigating officer with the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA). “As part of the oath-swearing ceremony, they were given blood containing worms to drink. A chicken was used to hit her naked body on the back and on the chest. She had to eat the heart of the chicken which had just been killed. And the priest would cut their skin and mouth with a razor blade.”
Mellor said the women were told they had “eaten from the devil,” and he would kill them if they did not repay their debts.
After the ritual, the women were forced to fend for themselves during a five-day trip across the Sahara Desert, during which they were shot at and gang raped. They later boarded a crowded inflatable boat headed for a refugee camp in Italy. After spending weeks at the camp, they would be retreived and taken to Germany.
Iyamu funded a lavish lifestyle with the women’s earnings complete with a mansion, international travel and shoe shopping sprees reports the BBC News. She was convicted on five counts of arranging to facilitate travel of another person for exploitation. Iyamu was also charged with perverting the course of justice for paying the Nigerian police to arrest one of the victim’s relatives to prevent the woman from testifying against her while they were both in police custody.