Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced two human traffickers, Terry Homuere-Smooth and Priscilla Bassey Effiong, to 12 years imprisonment for promoting prostitution in Nigeria.
Justice Oguntoyinbo gave the verdict after she found the convicts guilty of a two counts charge brought against them by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The convicts were first arraigned before the court sometimes in November 2015, on charges bordering on organising, promoting foreign prostitution and trafficking one Chisom a.k.a. Gold to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
NAPTIP had, through its lawyer, Sebol Langy, told the court that the offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 18 and 14 (b) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015.
In the course of trial, Langy called two witnesses, including Chisom.
Chisom had told the court in her evidence that the convicts after taken her to Dubai forced her into prostitution, took her nude picture and asked to take an oath that she will pay them some amount of money to their agents in Dubai, otherwise, they will post her nude pictures online.
The victim also testified that when she could not raise the money she was billed, the convicts posted her nude pictures as vowed.
And that it was when her nude pictures went viral that the NAPTIP was able to come into her matter and the two convicts were apprehended.
However, the convicts in their own testimonies denied the allegations. And urged the court to discharge and acquit them of the offences.
In her judgment yesterday, Justice Oguntoyinbo held that, “the prosecution has been able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt”.
She therefore convicted the two traffickers as charged.
Upon the pronouncement of the court, lawyers to the convicts pleaded with the judge to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing them.
The lawyers told the court that their clients are first time offender and had showed great remorse during their detention.
Justice Oluremi further stated, “I have listened to the allocutus made by the counsels to the defendants. However, the minimum punishment for count one is seven years imprisonment with a fine of N1 million, while the minimum punishment for the second count is five years.
“In the light of above, I hereby sentenced the first and second defendants to seven years imprisonment in count one with N1 million fine, and five years in count two.