A nurse identified as Josephine Iyamu has been convicted of heading up a criminal network that subjected vulnerable Nigerian women to voodoo rituals before trafficking them. The Nigerian lady reportedly forced the trafficked women to swear oaths to hand over money to her during “juju” ceremonies.
According to media reports, Josephine denied trafficking five women from Nigeria to Germany and exploiting them for prostitution across Europe. But following a ten week trial, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court today convicted her of modern slavery offences and perverting the course of justice.
The 51-year-old’s conviction is the first successful prosecution of a British national under the Modern Slavery Act involving victims who have no connection to the UK, but have been victimised by a UK national.
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. The voodoo rituals saw the women forced to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and have powder rubbed into cuts, the court heard.
According to reports, the case is the first in England and Wales in which a British citizen has been prosecuted for sexual trafficking offences committed outside the UK.