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Human Trafficking: An Edo Woman Jailed 15 Years

From Adibe Emenyonu in Benin,

A High Court in Benin sentenced a 35-year-old woman, Mrs. Juliet Peters Ewinramen to 15 years imprisonment without an option of fine for human trafficking.

Ewinramen, a native of Edo State, was until her conviction by Justice Phillip Imoedemhe of High Court 9 resided at 20, Apata Lane , Apata area of Ibadan, Oyo State.

In addition to her conviction, Ewinramen is to forfeit her personal properties which include household possessions believed to be proceeds of the illicit business of trafficking, to the Victim’s Trust Fund of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matter (NAPTIP).

The convicted woman, who was arrested during a raid on a brothel by a combined team of security operatives, was convicted for trafficking some girls to the said brothel in Ibadan, Oyo State for prostitution. 

She was arraigned on a five-count charge, ranging from procurement for prostitution contrary to section 15(a), deceitful inducement contrary to section 19(b) and trafficking in slaves contrary to section 23 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforce-ment and Administration Act, 2003 as amended.

The prosecution called a total of six witnesses to prove the offences against the accused which included two of the under-aged girls who were victims of the trafficking and a senior police officer who was part of the rescue team who raided the hotel.
At the trial, it was established that the accused had trafficked the victims to a popular hotel in Ibadan called Lucky Star Hotel, where they were forced into prostitution while the daily proceed of the illicit trade went into her pocket.

Barrister (Mrs.) Victoria Oburoh led other counsels for the prosecution while Nigeria Legal Aid Counsel represented the accused person and at the end of satisfactory submission from both counsels, the judge found the accused guilty on two counts--1& 5 which dealt with procurement for prostitution and trafficking in slaves while the accused was discharged on counts 2, 3, and 4 on the ground that the prosecution was unable to prove the ingredient of the offence beyond reasonable doubt..

Commenting on the issue, the Benin Zonal Head of NAPTIP, Barr. (Mrs.) Adefunke Abiodun, described the conviction of the accused as another landmark in the operation of the Agency, saying that it will no more be business as usual for traffickers in the Zone.
According to her, “I want to say that 2010 will be a very tough year for traffickers and their cohorts in the zone. NAPTIP is ready and determined to smoke them out of the zone

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