A Benin High Court in Edo State has sentenced a 58-year-old woman to six
years imprisonment for trafficking an 18-year-old girl to Kuwait and
Mrs. Joy Raji, mother of seven,
who hails from Ikpoba-Okha LGA of the state had in January, 2016, been
arraigned before Justice Alero Edodo-Eruaga on three counts bothering
on deceitful inducement, forced labour and slave dealing, contrary to
the provisions of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law,2013, (as
But Raji was said to have pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her, before she was convicted on Wednesday.
such as a “slave uniform passport, travel tickets and a bank teller”
were said to have been tendered while three witnesses were called in by
the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons to
prove its case.
The prosecutor had told the court that the victim
was working as an artistic designer in Benin before she was trafficked
to the two countries for exploitative purposes.
She was said to
have been introduced to the idea of travelling to Kuwait for a better
life by Raji, in collaboration with her brother, one Evans Aghahowa, who
was said to be at large.
Various sums of money were said to have
been collected from the victim’s mother, identified as one Mrs. Mary
Osula, to facilitate the trip.
She was also said to have been
sold for 750 Kuwaiti Dinar to a male buyer and was returned to one of
her buyers when she ran to the Kuwaiti police.
The victim, in her
testimony was quoted to have said, “A certain man took me to a
20-storey building and I was locked up inside; I never came out again. I
was not given food.
“I ate from remnants I could find. When I complained, the man told me that he paid 750 Kuwait Dinar to purchase me.”
acting Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr. Nduka Nwanwenne, in a
statement on Thursday, noted that the victim was later sold again to
another woman in Saudi Arabia, “who kept giving her work to do without
food and not letting her go out of the house.”
“The victim was
held in bondage in two countries and her life and liability was under
the absolute control of her ‘oga’ and ‘madam,’” Nwanwenne added.
Justice Edodo-Eruaga found the accused guilty and sentenced her to four
years imprisonment on Count One and two years imprisonment on Count
Two, without an option of fine.