Leadership (Abuja)

31 October 2012

Nigeria: Human Trafficking - Nigerian Man Bags 20-Year-Jail Term in UK

A Nigerian man, Osazua Osalese, has been sentenced to prison for 20 years in the United Kingdom after he was found guilty of human trafficking.

Osolase, 42, from Gravesend, Kent, was said to have carried out "juju" (witchcraft) on teenage girls he trafficked from Nigeria to Europe for prostitution. He reportedly preyed on poverty-stricken orphans with the promise of a better life, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Judge Adele Williams told him he was devoid of conscience and compassion.

Osolase was found guilty of five counts of trafficking, one of rape and one of sexual activity with a child.

The jury was told in a six-week trial which ended on Friday that West African "juju rituals" were used to instill terror into Osolase's three vulnerable victims, one aged just 14. The judge said the recycling worker, who has HIV, put his victims "in fear" to force their obedience and secure their silence.

"You were dealing in exploitation and manipulation and degradation," she told Osolase.

"You are undoubtedly a very, very dishonest man. You are arrogant and manipulative; you are devoid of conscience, devoid of any compassion to your victims," she added.

The judge said Osolase treated the girls as objects to be sold as sex slaves. The fact that he raped one girl knowing he had HIV was a "seriously aggravating" feature.

Osolase took the girls to his home in Gravesend before sending them to work as prostitutes in mainland Europe. It was recommended that Osolase be deported once he has served his sentence.

One of the girls described the Juju ceremony performed on her in Nigeria. During the ritual, samples of blood were extracted from the girl, and her hair, head and pubic were also cut. She was then told to swear an oath of silence.

Osolase was stopped at Stansted airport in April 2011 attempting to board a plane.

Anthony Orchard QC, defending, said Osolase disclosed that he had HIV voluntarily to police.

"Mr Osolase acknowledges and regrets the consequences of his actions in relation to taking the girls out of the UK, and he has to bear the consequences of those actions," Mr. Orchard told the court.

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