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South African witchdoctors. Photo supplied

British NHS nurse convicted of human trafficking using voodoo

A Liberian-born British NHS nurse used voodoo to traffic Nigerian prostitutes into Europe. Josephine Iyamu, 53, was the first person this week in the UK to be found guilty under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act.

Published: June 30, 2018, 11:32 am

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    She recruited an African witchdoctor who forced her victims to eat hearts, drink a concoction of blood and worms and submit to regular beatings, British South West News Service reported.

    Iyamu was a member of an international human trafficking crime network. She owned a Nigerian mansion with servants.

    The London based Iyamu charged each victim for travel to Germany and when they arrived they would be forced into prostitution to pay off their debt.

    When a German brothel owner noticed irregularities with one of the women’s paperwork, a German police investigation was launched which also involved the UK’s National Crime Agency. A senior investigating officer, said Iyamu became a British citizen in 2009 making it possible to prosecute her under the Modern Slavery Act.

    She was a British citizen and registered nurse with the NHS, Britain’s national health service.

    Witchdoctors exert an insidious control over their victims. Bodyparts of the trafficked women were kept in individualised packages and they were told: “You have now eaten from the devil and if you do not pay, the devil will kill you.”

    Iyamu was convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court of five counts of arranging to facilitate travel of another person for exploitation. She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice after paying Nigerian police to arrest one of the victims’ relatives in a bid to stop the woman giving evidence against them in the trial while both were in police custody in the UK, Metro reported.

    Judge Richard Bond noted: “This is the first case in England and Wales under the new 2015 act whereby people have been trafficked from one country into another country. This is going to set a precedent when it comes to sentence. Whatever sentence I impose, I anticipate it will be challenged.”

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