Nigerian woman jailed in Switzerland for trafficking

IN a ruling that exposes the grim reality of human trafficking, a 34-year-old Nigerian woman has been handed a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence by a Swiss court for her involvement in trafficking young women and girls for sexual exploitation.

The sentencing, reported by SwissInfo on Monday, June 26, included the subsequent deportation of the unnamed 34-year-old mother of three from Switzerland upon completion of her prison term.

The court proceedings unveiled a distressing tale of how the woman, a former trafficked sex worker herself, allegedly recruited several young Nigerian girls, some of whom were minors, to work as prostitutes in the Lausanne region.

The court learned of the horrifying conditions endured by five sex workers, who were housed in different locations within Lausanne and forced to engage in street prostitution regardless of weather conditions. Three of the women had courageously come forward to file complaints.

Operating in conjunction with her partner, who was already convicted and sentenced in 2021, the Nigerian woman allegedly collaborated with family members in Nigeria to target girls from impoverished homes.

The victims embarked on a deceitful journey, travelling through Niger, Libya, the Mediterranean Sea, and Italy before reaching Switzerland.

However, before their departure, they were subjected to a coercive ritual known in Nigeria as “juju”, involving black magic spells and threats of harm to themselves and their families if they defied their captors.

Under the grip of their traffickers, the victims were compelled to surrender their earnings to the Nigerian woman who has now been convicted.

Refusal to comply resulted in threats of death, physical abuse, or deprivation of food. The presiding judge, Pierre Bruttin, expressed deep shock and labelled the case as “extremely serious”.

The convicted woman, who had already spent over a year in prison, admitted to her offenses and in addition to her prison sentence, was fined and will face deportation from Switzerland once her jail term is complete.

Meanwhile, her three young children are under the care of authorities in France, while their father remains incarcerated.






     

     

    While Switzerland has seen previous cases of similar nature, public prosecutor Eric Mermoud noted that this particular instance was the first to be resolved through a simplified procedure.

    He described the woman’s admission of guilt as a “rare confession”, adding that Nigerian prostitution appears to be on the decline in Lausanne, possibly due to recent court rulings that have diminished its appeal to traffickers.

    Although prostitution is a regulated trade in Switzerland, human trafficking, coercion into prostitution, and most forms of pimping are strictly illegal.

    Despite the prevalence of sex trafficking, such cases seldom make it to court in the country.

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