An Edo State High Court has sentenced one Ehigie Richard to seven years imprisonment for trafficking people to Russia.
Richard was arraigned on a four- count charge of recruitment of a person by means of abuse, position of vulnerability and facilitation and exportation of persons for prostitution, contrary to various provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
He was said to have recruited one female victim identified as Miss X, and trafficked her to Russia where she was exploited.
A statement signed by Zonal Commander of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Nduka Nwanwenne said the victim was taken to the shrine, where an oath of secrecy was administered on her and asked to pay back the sum $55,000 for a period between six months and one year.
Nduka explained that the victim was warned not to run away or report her madam in Russia to the police of failed to pay the money or the oath would make her go mad.
He said the case against the accused was investigated with the collaboration of Joint Border Task Force (JBTF) – a multi-disciplinary crime fighting task force.
According to the statement, “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 friend, who took her to the Nigeria Embassy in Moscow, before she returned to Nigeria.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Alero Edodo – Erauga, said the law must have its way despite the accused plea for leniency and not wasting the time of the court.
Justice Alero sentenced the accused to one year imprisonment on count one or a fine of N250, 000 while the accused was sentenced to two years imprisonment each on other counts or a fine of N1m on each count.
The jail term is to run concurrently.
Director- General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okha –Donli, said all traffickers who indulged in taking victims for exploitation would be made to answer for their crimes.
She advised human traffickers to desist from their nefarious acts and redirect their energy to positive ventures.