A 30-year-old Nigerian man identified as Chinedu Obasi, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison, after he was found guilty of marrying a South African lady to obtain citizenship but not living with her.
The Nigerian man who was arraigned before the court alongside one Obioma Abba, 33, for running a brothel and a human trafficking syndicate, was sentenced to 18 years’ effective imprisonment on charges of human trafficking and contravening the Immigration Act for marrying a South African woman to obtain citizenship but not living with her, while Obioma was sentenced to 12 years’ effective imprisonment on two charges of human trafficking.
The convicts were arrested in August. after some of the sex workers escaped and alerted the police that they were held against their wish and converted to sex workers. During their trial, two sex workers testified against Abba and Obasi, revealed how the duo plied them with drugs and held them captive in the flat, only allowing them to go out at night to work as prostitutes.
Passing his judgement, the Judge said although the two women who worked as prostitutes for the brothers were exposed to a lot of trauma, they were already in the sex trade and hooked on drugs when they were recruited by the brothers.
But the judge, on the other hand, said the brothers kept the women captive in the flat in Arcadia, from where they had to work as prostitutes. Judge Tolmay said the fact that a life sentence was mandatory in these cases if there were no mitigating factors, proved how adamant the legislator is to eradicate crimes of human trafficking.
Both ladies have een rehabilitated from drugs and they have obtained good jobs. But during the trial, they were under the state’s witness protection plan for their own safety. They also could not face their pimps in court as they were too afraid. They testified about their dark lives on the streets via closed-circuit television from an adjacent room.
One of the former victims, who was at court on Tuesday, is heavily pregnant and has found new love. She is expected to give birth next month.