Human Trafficker Bags Seven-Year Jail Term

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

An Edo State High Court in Benin City Thursday sentenced one Ehigie Richard, aged 47 to seven years imprisonment for human trafficking.

Ehigie, who resides at No. 71, Osakue Street, off Nomayo Road, Upped Sokponba, Benin City, received various terms of imprisonment and fines for human trafficking in Charge NO B/NAPTIP/ZC/17.

According to the court, the case against the accused was investigated with the collaboration of the Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) – a multi-disciplinary crime fighting task force.

The accused was arraigned on a four-count charge of recruitment of a person by means of abuse, position of vulnerability, assistance to a person engaged in an act of trafficking in persons, and facilitation and exportation of persons for prostitution, contrary to various provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.

The accused was said to have recruited one female victim (name withheld) and trafficked her to his daughter, who is based in Russia, where she was exploited.

Before the journey to Russia, the victim was taken to the shrine, where an oath of secrecy was administered on her by an herbalist with chicken, egg, local gin and kolanut.

The oath enjoined her to pay her madam the sum of $55,000 for a period between six months and one year, not to run away or report her madam in Russia to the police. Failure to pay the agreed sum, as part of the oath taking, will make her go mad.

Necessary documents and visas were procured for the victim as well as air ticket for the journey.

On arrival in Russia, her phone and international passport were seized by her madam, Bridget, and her boyfriend, Kingsley.

The madam allegedly opened a website for prostitutes for the victim, where her information and pictures were downloaded. Customers usually check and call for appointments. A notebook was procured for the recording of all earnings.

Similarly, the victim was made to pay 10,000 rubble for rent and 50,000 rubble to service the website.

Before the victim threw in the towel, she had paid $40,000 to her madam.
On the day the victim escaped, her madam went out to shop. She used the opportunity to run to one of her Russian friends, who took her to the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, before she returned to Nigeria.

The High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Alero Edodo-Erauga, noted that the accused did not waste the time of the court as he was always available for trials.

In spite of the fact that the accused knelt down to plead for leniency, the judge said the law must have its way and subsequently sentenced him to one year imprisonment in count one or a fine of N250,000.

In count two to four, the accused was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count or a fine of N1,000,000 on each count.