A London-based nurse has been jailed for trafficking Nigerian women into Germany to work as prostitutes after subjecting them to “voodoo” rituals. Josephine Iyamu forced the five women to swear oaths to hand over money to her during “juju” ceremonies. Iyamu, 51, formerly of Bermondsey, was convicted of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation and perverting the course of justice.
She was jailed for 14 years at Birminghamcrown Court. Iyamu became the first British national prosecuted for Modern Slavery Act offences after trafficking victims outside the UK. She was also convicted of perverting the course of justice while on remand, by arranging for relatives of her victims in Nigeria to be arrested. The court heard the women were forced to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and have powder rubbed into cuts during the rituals.
Sentencing, Judge Richard Bond said the 51-year-old had shown “a complete disregard for the welfare of these women”. He said she had exposed them to a “real and significant” risk of death as they travelled across the Mediterranean on inflatable boats. All five women had be rescued from the boat they were on, before being put into a camp in Italy. “You saw them not as living, breathing human beings but as commodities to earn you large sums of money,” he said.
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