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Nurse ran Nigerian sex trafficking business from London

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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

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Chris Cash: The UK Parliamentary Researcher Accused of Spying for Beijing Authorities

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In March of this year, a British parliamentary researcher was arrested on suspicion of being a Chinese spy. The researcher, Chris Cash, was revealed to be a 28-year-old history graduate with links to many Tory MPs. He had been seen associating with senior Tories such as security minister Tom Tugendhat and Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns. Cash was believed to have been recruited as a sleeper agent while living and working in China and sent back to the UK to infiltrate political networks critical of the Beijing regime.

Cash was the leader of the China Research Group, a body advocating for a more hawkish British policy towards China. Co-founded by Tory ministers Tom Tugendhat and Neil O’Brien in April 2020, the group focused on industrial, technological, and foreign policy issues. The group’s website claimed that it aimed to provide informed knowledge on China and promote debate and fresh thinking about how Britain should respond to the rise of China.

Chris Cash was arrested in Edinburgh and released on bail until early October, along with another suspect. It is unclear how much access Cash had to foreign affairs intelligence or what kind of influence he may have held in Westminster. While he held a parliamentary pass, he did not have security clearance.

China has denied all accusations of involvement in an espionage scheme involving Cash, calling them malicious slander.

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Pope Sends Prayers to Comfort Morocco Earthquake Victims as Death Toll Surpasses 2,000

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On Sunday, Pope Francis expressed his prayers and support for the victims of the powerful earthquake that hit Morocco, resulting in the highest number of fatalities in over 60 years. During his Angelus message, he prayed for those injured and those who lost their lives, along with their families.

The Pope also expressed his gratitude towards the rescue workers who are working tirelessly to help the victims. He concluded by saying that they stand in solidarity with the people of Morocco during this difficult time.

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African Union’s Inclusion in G20: A Significant Acknowledgment of a Continent with 1 Billion Inhabitants

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The world’s most powerful economies, the G20, have welcomed the African Union (AU) as a permanent member, recognising Africa’s more than 50 countries as important players on the global stage. US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi both expressed support for the AU’s permanent membership.

The AU has advocated for full membership for seven years and, until now, South Africa was the only African country in the G20. The AU represents a continent with a young population of 1.3 billion, which is set to double by 2050 and make up a quarter of the world’s population.

Africa’s 55 member states have long pushed for meaningful roles in global bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, and want reforms to the global financial system. The continent is increasingly attracting investment and political interest from global powers like China, Russia, Gulf nations, Turkey, Israel, and Iran. African leaders are challenging the framing of the continent as passive victim and want to be brokers instead.

They seek fairer treatment by financial institutions, delivery of rich countries’ long-promised $100 billion a year in climate financing for developing nations, and a global tax on fossil fuels. The AU’s full G20 membership will enable it to represent a continent that’s home to the world’s largest free trade area and abundant resources needed to combat climate change. The African continent has 60% of the world’s renewable energy assets and over 30% of the minerals key to renewable and low-carbon technologies.

African leaders want more industrial development closer to home to benefit their economies. Finding a common position among the AU’s member states, from economic powers to some of the world’s poorest nations, can be challenging, but Africa will need to speak with one voice to influence G20 decision-making. African leaders have shown their willingness to take collective action, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a high-profile G20 member, Africa’s demands will be harder to ignore.

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