Nurses trafficked women, forcing them to eat chicken hearts and work as prostitutes
London nurse Josephine Iyamu, 54, tricked people into thinking she was rich and powerful before forcing vulnerable women to work as prostitutes for thousands of pounds in profit
A nurse currently serving an 18-year sentence for smuggling Nigerian women into Europe and forcing them into sex work has been fined nearly £184,000
National Criminal Investigation Agency
Josephine Iyamu, 54, of London, forced the women she victimized to eat chicken hearts, drink blood laced with worms and have powder rubbed into their cuts during the rituals, the court had heard earlier
The nurse, also known as Madame Sandra, formerly of Bermondsey, pretended to the people of Nigeria that she was rich and powerful before recruiting vulnerable women from rural villages and promising them a better life in Europe.
In sentencing Iyamu, Judge Richard Bond said she showed “a total disregard for the welfare of these women”.
He added she “didn’t see them as living, breathing people, but as commodities that you can make big bucks on.”
She reportedly demanded £38,000 from her victims to fund their trip, but when they arrived she forced them to work as prostitutes in Europe to pay off debts she said they “owed”.
She would also subject her victims to a humiliating juju ceremony meant to bind the victim to their trafficker, where the women would believe that if they broke their oath to Iyamu, serious harm would be done to them or their families.
She was seized by Birmingham Crown Court on Friday March 4 to hand nearly £184,000 over three months or face another two years in prison and remain liable for the money.
Iyamu was the first British national to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act for offenses committed abroad in a landmark case led by the National Crime Agency in 2018.
The money she owes took into account the fact that Iyamu owns a large home in Benin City, Nigeria, where she served as an employer for the staff at the property.
UK National Crime Agency chief investigator Kay Mellor said: “Josephine Iyamu has specifically targeted vulnerable women, putting them through the most horrific experiences only to benefit significantly from their misery.
“Iyamu’s expenses on travel and property far outweighed her legitimate earnings as a nurse and our examination of her finances proved that she has made hundreds of thousands of pounds from her crime.
“Confiscation orders are a key tool that allow us to really hit criminals where it hurts – in the pocket. Iyamu was calculated, manipulative, and motivated by money.
“Not only is she serving a hefty jail sentence, but she won’t be living a luxurious lifestyle when she gets out.”
The first investigations into Iyamu began in 2017 after identifying one of her victims, who at the time was working in a German brothel. Iyamu was in London, performing under the alias Madame Sandra.
A joint effort by the National Crime Agency and the Nigerian Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) investigated their activities in Nigeria.
In the courtroom at her trial, Iyamu’s five victims detailed their horrific ordeal, which involved traveling across Africa by land and then to Italy by boat, before finally arriving in Germany under false identities provided by Iyamu’s associates were flown.
She was arrested by officers after she landed at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Lagos on August 24, 2017 and was originally sentenced to 14 years in prison, but following an appeal two months later her sentence was extended to 18 years.
In prison, Iyamu tried to track down her victims and their families to intimidate them, and she tried to bribe law enforcement officials.
Iyamu has been convicted of five counts of assisting another person to travel for the purpose of exploitation and one count of attempting to prevent legal traffic and remains in prison.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nurse-trafficked-women-forced-eat-26542723 Nurses trafficked women, forcing them to eat chicken hearts and work as prostitutes