Two sisters who made a 19-year-old to engage in commercial sex in Russia to clear a $45,000 debt have been jailed for 14 years each.
A prosecutor for the National Agency for the prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) told Thomson Reuters Foundation that it was the highest jail term she could remember in a long time.
“Human trafficking is becoming endemic to society,” she said anonymously. “(Judges) don’t see the need to punish people (traffickers), they say let them pay.
Two sisters, Vivian Ehiozee, 31, and Endurance Ehiozee, 37, received 14-year jail terms while their mother, Helen Ehiozee – 54, was sentenced to stay behind bars for ten years.
According to NAPTIP, the Ehiozees trafficked a 19-year-old girl to Russia in 2012. They told her she was going to work in a hair salon.
The story was twisted when she arrived in Russia, and the victim was told she had a debt of $45,000 to pay.
The lady was made to offer sex until she made the sum and returned to Nigeria to testify against the siblings.
“I’m delighted because before now, we have been getting very light convictions with the option of fines … so the traffickers were getting off lightly with so much impunity,” Okah-Donli told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone. “I trust this will serve as a deterrent to potential or actual traffickers.”
Sighting a US State department anti-trafficking report, the foundation said NAPTIP convicted 27 traffickers in the year ending March 2020.
The report noted that judges gave light sentences or fines because they were unfamiliar with Nigeria’s anti-trafficking laws.