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Nigerian pastor,23 others on trial for sex slavery in France

Nigerian pastor,23 others on trial for sex slavery in France

Twenty-four suspected members of a sex trafficking ring accused of forcing Nigerian women into prostitution in France go on trial midweek, the latest case to highlight the growing use of Nigerian migrants as sex slaves in Europe.Nigeria was the main country of origin of the migrants arriving across the Mediterranean to Italy in 2016 and 2017, though their numbers have since dropped.

seamstresses, only to find French prosecutors estimate that 17 alleged victims, aged 17 to 38, made up to 150,000 euros ($166,000) a month for the syndicate, selling sex for as little as 10 euros. Many of the arrivals were women and girls lured to Europe with false promises of jobs as hairdressers or themselves selling sex on arrival to repay  the money they owed for their passage to Europe. Many of the woman took the perilous migrant trail across the Sahara Desert to Libya and then across the Mediterranean to Italy before winding up in Lyon.

Among the accused is a 28-year-old former prostitute who was herself released from sex slavery after paying off her debts and who in turn brought over Most of the women come from Benin City, capital of Nigeria’s southern Edo State, a human trafficking hotbed with a long history of dispatching women and men to Europe to earn money to send back home.

Many told investigators they had taken part in “juju” or black magic rituals before leaving Nigeria, during which they promised another young woman from Nigeria.Nigerians now outnumber Chinese or Eastern European sex workers on the streets of France and some other European countries.Last year, 15 members of a Paris-based female-led pimping ring known as the “Authentic Sisters” were sentenced to up to 11 years in prison for forcing girls into sex slavery in France.

Many were themselves former trafficking victims-turned-perpetrators.Similar gangs have also been dismantled in Italy and Britain.The investigation in Lyon, where police estimate half the city’s sex workers are Nigerian, began after authorities received a tip about a Nigerian pastor accused of exploiting several sex workers who lived in apartments he owned.

The pastor, Stanley Omoregie, has denied the charges, which include aggravated pimping and slavery.

But in the transcript of a conversation submitted to the court, he is heard saying he wanted “those with beautiful bodies, who can be controlled, not those that cause problems.”The prosecution has presented him as the kingpin of a family-based syndicate made up of 10 women and 14 men, including one of Europe’s most wanted women, Jessica Edosomwan, accused of recruiting destitute women in Nigeria for the sex trade in Lyon, Nimes and Montpellier.Edosomwan, who is believed to be on the run in the Benelux countries, Italy or Germany, will be tried in absentia.

Sporting untrimmed sideburns and winter jacket, while still managing to look unruffled and as cool as you’d like, 35-year-old Pastor Stanley Omoregie looks the Judge straight in the eye and beckons on God to strike him dead if he’s guilty.This however cut no ice with the judge.

“May God kill me now if a girl has worked for me,” Omoregie swears, ashen-faced and defiant all at once.

He speaks flawless French, which he considers being the fruit of successful integration, as he denies the accusation of being involved in running a prostitution racket and trafficking young girls from Nigeria to Europe.

In the transcript The pastor is currently standing trial in a Lyon court in France and he has just denied charges bordering of a conversation submitted to the court, Omoregie is heard saying he wanted “those with beautiful bodies, who can be controlled, not those that cause problems.”

A family-based sex syndicate

The prosecution has presented Omoregie as the kingpin of a family-based syndicate made up of 10 women and 14 men, including one of Europe's most wanted women, Jessica Edosomwan.

Edosomwan has been accused of recruiting destitute women in Nigeria for the sex trade in Lyon, Nimes and Montpellier.

Believed to be on the run in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) countries, Italy or Germany, Edosomwan is set to be tried in absentia.

It took months of police wiretapping and surveillance before Omoregie and other suspected members of his cartel were arrested. Last year, 15 members of a Paris-based female-led pimping ring known as the “Authentic Sisters” were sentenced to up to 11 years in prison for forcing girls into sex slavery in France.

Many were themselves former trafficking victims-turned-perpetrators.Similar gangs have also been dismantled in Italy and Britain.The investigation in Lyon, where police estimate half the city’s sex workers are Nigerian, began after authorities received a tip bout a Nigerian pastor accused of exploiting several sex workers who lived in apartments he owned. They risk 10 years in jail if convicted The pastor, Stanley Omoregiae, has denied the charges, which include aggravated pimping and slavery

 

 

 

 

 

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