How mother of 7 bagged 6 years jail term for human trafficking

A Benin High Court in Edo State has sentenced a 58-year-old woman to six years imprisonment for trafficking an 18-year-old girl to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Mrs. Joy Raji, mother of seven, who hails from Ikpoba-Okha LGA of the state had in January, 2016, been arraigned before Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga on three counts ‎bothering on deceitful inducement, forced labour and slave dealing, contrary to the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law,2013, (as amended).

But Raji was said to have pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her, before she was convicted on Wednesday.

Items such as a “slave uniform passport, travel tickets and a bank teller” were said to have been tendered while three witnesses were called in by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons to prove its case.

The prosecutor had told the court that the victim was working as an artistic designer in Benin before she was trafficked to the two countries for exploitative purposes.

She was said to have been introduced to the idea of travelling to Kuwait for a better life by Raji, in collaboration with her brother, one Evans Aghahowa, who was said to be at large.

Various sums of money were said to have been collected from the victim’s mother, identified as one Mrs. Mary Osula, to facilitate the trip.

She was also ‎said to have been sold for 750 Kuwaiti Dinar to a male buyer and was returned to one of her buyers when she ran to the Kuwaiti police.

The victim, in her testimony was quoted to have said, “A certain man took me to a 20-storey building and I was locked up inside; I never came out again. 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 acting Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr. Nduka Nwanwenne, in a statement on Thursday, noted that the victim was later sold again to another 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 liability was under the absolute control of her ‘oga’ and ‘madam,’” Nwanwenne added.

However, Justice Edodo-Eruaga found the accused guilty and sentenced her to four years imprisonment on Count One and two years imprisonment on Count Two, without an option of fine.


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