Friday, 26 October 2012

UK court convicts Nigerian who uses witchcraft to traffic teenage girls for prostitution

A Nigerian human trafficker who terrified his victims into silence through “juju” witchcraft rituals and sexual violence was convicted Friday of trafficking girls to work in the sex trade across Europe.

Former security guard Osezua Osolase faces jail when he is sentenced on Monday for tricking impoverished young Nigerian girls into travelling to Britain before farming them out as sex workers for up to £70,000 a time to continental gangs.

Police identified flight records and forged passport records to show that he recruited 28 girls and escorted many of them abroad over a 15-month period from 2010. But Osolase boasted to his victims that he had been running the scam for more than a decade.

Osolase deliberately targeted some of the most vulnerable girls in the world – orphaned, ill-educated and homeless – and brought them  to Britain where he kept them captive.

The 42-year-old ensured their obedience by binding the young girls to him  with “juju” rituals – a powerful force in parts of Nigeria – that left girls fearing that they would die if they ran away or spoke out against him.

 But in a major breakthrough for police, officers traced three of their victims – aged 14, 16, and 17 at the time – who were prepared to give evidence after  they were stopped by authorities while travelling to the European cities on false travel documents.

One of the girls told how she was taken to a house of witchcraft in Lagos. The teenager was given a blood-like mixture, told to bathe in it and wrap sodden cloth around her. A priest cut hair from her armpits, some of her finger and toenails and took blood from her hand. The woman was told that the body parts taken in the ritual would be used to find and kill her if ever she tried to run away.

The majority of Osolase’s victims were trafficked to Italy, Spain and France where there is a high demand for West African women to work in the sex trade, police said. However, detectives believe that he funnelled his wealth back to Nigeria and had no trappings of wealth at his home in Northfleet, Kent.

Detective Inspector Eddie Fox said: “Osolase led these girls to believe a better life awaited them in the UK, he preyed on vulnerable girls who had no one to care for them and would not be missed. 

“Juju is a well established belief but Osolase corrupted it in a bid to gain control and bend the wills of his victims. He exploited the girls and took advantage of the fact they had nobody.’’

Culled from Vanguard

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