Three men who are involved in child trafficking have been sentenced to six years imprisonment by a High Court in Benin for trafficking two under-aged girls for prostitution.
The convicts, identified as Ngozi Owoh, 22; Ahmed Babatayo Femi, 33; and Odigie Iyobosa, 29, were, however, given an option of fine of N150,000 each for the count charges, after pleading guilty before Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga.
The human traffickers had been charged with procuring under-aged girls for prostitution, organising foreign travels, which promote prostitution, and conspiracy to facilitate foreign travel, contrary to the provision of Trafficking in Persons (prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
According to a statement by the spokesman for the Benin zonal office of NAPTIP, Nduka Nwanwenne, the convicts had recruited their victims, who were students of Covenant Christian Academy and New Era Girls College in Benin.
They were said to have promised the girls, aged 16 and 18 years old, better life and opportunity abroad.
“The convicts were alleged to have before embarking on the journey took the victims to a shrine where oath of secrecy was administered on them,” Nwanwenne added.
He said the traffickers were intercepted and apprehended by operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Seme border en route to Cote-de Ivoire.
He noted that while they were arrested by the NIS, the victims were rescued and handed over to NAPTIP for prosecution.
Nduka said, “Consequently, the first accused person, who was a former victim of human trafficking and had been trafficked to Cote-de Ivoire, Libya and Morocco, was sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count or a fine of N150,000 on each of the five counts.
He added, “The second and third accused persons were equally sentenced to two years imprisonment or a fine of N150,000 on each of the two counts.”
Reacting to the development, the Benin Zonal Commander, Mr. Odita Ebenezer, said the agency would continue its efforts to curb human trafficking and ensure that offenders were prosecuted.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )