Connect with us

INTERNATIONAL

Nurse ran Nigerian sex trafficking business from London

Published

on

Josephine Iyamu

Josephine Iyamu, a London-based nurse has been convicted of heading up a criminal network that subjected vulnerable Nigerian women to voodoo rituals before trafficking them to Europe and forcing them into sex work.

Her conviction is the first successful prosecution of a British national for offences committed overseas under the Modern Slavery Act.

Josephine Iyamu, 51, denied trafficking five women from Nigeria to Germany and exploiting them for prostitution. However, following a ten-week trial, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court today (28 June 2018) convicted her of modern slavery offences and perverting the course of justice.

Her husband was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The National Crime Agency began investigating Iyamu in July 2017 after the German Polizei identified one of her victims and recovered evidence pointing to her being the ringleader of a network trafficking vulnerable women.

NCA officers tracked down Iyamu, known to her victims as Madam Sandra, to a small flat in Bermondsey, South London, where she was working as a nurse.

Despite the couple’s moderate income, Iyamu frequently travelled to Europe and spent long periods of time in Nigeria where she owned a large house in Benin City with servant’s quarters.

The court heard that Josephine Iyamu oversaw the recruitment of vulnerable women, arranging their travel from rural towns in Nigeria to Germany, promising them a better life in Europe. In exchange for facilitating the travel, Iyamu charged the victims between 30,000 and 38,000 euros.

Once in Germany, they would be met by one of her associates who placed them in brothels and made them work as prostitutes in order to repay the debt.

She enlisted the help of a voodoo priest to put them through a ‘Juju’ ceremony -a ritual designed to exert control over the women. They were forced to drink blood containing worms, eat chicken hearts, have their skin cut with razor blades and made to take an oath not to try to escape or tell the police and repay the debt.

They were threatened with serious harm to them or their families if they broke the oath.

Five of Josephine Iyamu’s victims gave evidence via video link from Germany during her trial and detailed the horrendous conditions they endured whilst travelling over-land across Africa, and then by boat to Italy, with sexual assault, rape, kidnap and death commonplace along the route.

Witnesses from Nigeria also gave evidence, one in person and others by video link.

Josephine Iyamu and her husband were arrested by NCA officers after they landed at Heathrow airport on a flight from Lagos on 24 August 2017.

Forensic analysis confirmed that one of Iyamu’s phones was used regularly to make and receive calls and messages from her victims in Germany. The women later explained she would ring to remind them how much they owed and threaten them into paying.

Whilst she was remanded in custody, Iyamu made attempts to trace and intimidate the victims and their families, together with bribing law enforcement officers into proving her innocence.

A sentencing hearing will take place on 4 July. The NCA’s financial investigation into Iyamu’s assets continues.

NCA Operations Manager, Kay Mellor said: “Josephine Iyamu is a calculated individual who used her apparent status as a rich, powerful and influential lady to intimidate and manipulate vulnerable women.

“With zero regard for their safety and wellbeing, she sent them via dangerous routes to Germany and forced them to work in brothels to fund her own lifestyle.

“To her, these women were not human beings seeking a better life. They were merely a commodity which she could exploit to generate income for herself.

“I commend the bravery of the five women who came forward and recounted the abuse they suffered. Thanks to them, Iyamu will no longer pose a threat to others.

“Borders are not a barrier and working with our German and Nigerian NAPTIP colleagues, the prosecution was able to bring the strongest possible case to court and ensured she faced justice in the UK for her crimes.”

Mario Lahn, lead investigator from the Polizei in Trier, Germany said: “It is hard to describe how these women had to suffer on their trip to Germany. In every meeting with them, it became apparent what anguishes they had to get through and all of them are still suffering.

“The excellent and uncomplicated cooperation between the criminal investigation department in Trier, the Federal Criminal Agency, the NCA, the police in Nigeria and Europol led to the court case of Josephine Iyamu and her condemnation”

National Crime Agency

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 × three =

DIASPORA

Five people killed,189 arrested so far in Johannesburg violence

Published

on

Johannesburg Xenophobic Violence

Five people have been killed and 189 arrested in a spate of Johannesburg xenophobic violence that has rocked parts of the city since Sunday, police confirmed on Tuesday.

The five deaths have led to police deploying more police officers in areas identified as hot spots.

The latest killings were of two South Africans who were shot in Coronationville on Tuesday afternoon.

“Police have increased deployments to cover all the areas identified as hot spots of violence that have seen several shops being looted, burned and the property being looted,” said police spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini.

He said the situation had been stabilised in parts of the Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg Central, Jeppestown and Cleveland policing areas.

This was, however, not the case in Coronationville, as violent clashes continued and claimed the lives of two South Africans on Tuesday.

The clashes forced Gauteng premier David Makhura to leave a meeting between police minister Bheki Cele and those affected by the recent violence and rush to the area to call for calm.

Apart from these two murders, two killings were reported in Hillbrow and one near the Jeppe hostel.

Police had, however, made arrests in connection with the outbreaks of violence.

“A total of 189 arrests have been effected since Sunday,” said Dlamini.

Those arrests are facing a raft of charges, ranging from charges which include public violence, malicious damage to property, theft, and business break-ins.

Police said they were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse a group of people who planned to loot businesses in Thokoza and Kempton Park in the early hours of Tuesday.

Dlamini said the spate of violent incidents led to criminals gangs taking advantage of the chaotic situation and breaking into businesses, not only those belonging to foreign nationals but also other businesses.

A process to identify leaders of the protests was underway.

“In the meantime, police are identifying the leaders of these violent groups and will be arrested them once full evidence against them has been gathered,” said Dlamini.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela thanked members of the public who provided information to assist the police in dealing with violent situations.

Mawela has also assured the public that no unlawful activities will be tolerated.

“All our members are on the ground to deal with criminality,” he said.TimesLive

Continue Reading

BUSINESS

African leaders boycott WEF Africa over xenophobic attacks in SA

Published

on

World Economic Forum on Africa

The presidents of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi have decided not to attend the World Economic Forum on Africa hosted by South Africa in the face of ongoing looting and burning of small businesses in that country, owned largely by African immigrants, local media reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned the attacks, which have seen scores of people arrested in Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Reports said Zambia had also cancelled a friendly football match with South Africa’s national men’s team Bafana Bafana scheduled for March.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari instructed his foreign affairs minister to summon South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria over the violence.

Some South Africans say they are retaliating against crime committed by foreigners and the sale of illicit goods by foreign shop owners, but political analysts say African immigrants have become scapegoats for rising anger over joblessness and general economic woes.

In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union Commission’s Faki called for “immediate steps to protect the lives of people and their property, ensure that all perpetrators are brought to account for their acts and that justice is done to those who suffered economic and other losses.”

“The chairperson reiterates the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to support the South African government in addressing the root causes that led to these despicable acts, in order to promote peace and stability, within the framework of the African Union’s longstanding principles of continental solidarity,” his spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. African News Agency

Continue Reading

CRIME

FBI takes down Nigerian fraudsters in $46M case

Published

on

Nigerian fraudsters

The relationship between a Japanese woman and a U.S. Army captain stationed in Syria started online, through an international social network for digital pen pals. It grew into an internet romance over 10 months of daily emails.

It ended with the woman $200,000 poorer and on the verge of bankruptcy after borrowing money from her sister, ex-husband and friends to help Capt. Terry Garcia with his plan to smuggle diamonds out of Syria.

In reality, there were no diamonds and there was no Garcia — they were part of an elaborate scam hatched by an international ring of cyber thieves operating mainly out of Los Angeles and Nigeria.

Federal authorities cited the case of the Japanese woman, known only as “F.K.” in court papers, on Thursday when they announced an indictment charging 80 people with stealing at least $46 million through various schemes that targeted businesses, the elderly and anyone susceptible to a romance scam. Most of the defendants are Nigerian fraudsters.

“We believe this is one of the largest cases of its kind in U.S. history,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. “We are taking a major step to disrupt these criminal networks.”

The investigation began in 2016 with a single bank account and one victim, said Paul Delacourt, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office. It grew to encompass victims who were targeted in the U.S. and around the world, some of whom like the Japanese woman lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“F.K. was and is extremely depressed and angry about these losses,” the federal complaint states. “She began crying when discussing the way that these losses have affected her.”

Her relationship began innocently in March 2016 with an email but soon “Garcia” made “romantic overtures,” according to federal authorities. He told her they couldn’t talk by phone because he wasn’t allowed to use one in Syria.

So a stream of emails went back and worth, with her using Google to translate his English into her Japanese. A month into the relationship, Garcia told her he’d found a bag of diamonds in Syria and he began introducing her to his associates, starting with a Red Cross representative who told her Garcia had been injured but had given him the box.

F.K. ultimately made 35 to 40 payments, receiving as many as 10 to 15 emails a day directing her to send money to accounts in the U.S., Turkey and the United Kingdom through the captain’s many purported associates.

The Nigerian fraudsters even threatened her with arrest if she did not continue to pay and at one point she travelled to Los Angeles because she was told a Russian bank manager had embezzled more than $33,000 of her funds.

Authorities arrested 14 defendants Thursday, mostly in the Los Angeles area. FBI agents could be seen processing suspects in a downtown Los Angeles parking lot before they were arraigned in federal court. It was not immediately known if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Two suspects were previously in custody and a few others were arrested earlier this week. Hanna said he hoped to be able to work with foreign governments to extradite the remaining Nigerian fraudsters.

They all face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, and aggravated identity theft, and some are charged with additional offences for alleged fraud and money laundering.AOL

Continue Reading

Trending