Twelve Nigerians – five women and seven men – were sentenced on Friday October 8 by the Marseille Criminal Court to prison terms ranging from two to nine years. They responded, in this vast case of prostitution, to acts of “trafficking in human beings”, “assistance with illegal residence” and “procuring”.
The court issued an arrest warrant against three defendants absent from the deliberations, while four others – including two women – were arrested on the bar. The couple who appeared in detention were kept in detention.
Three men were sentenced to nine years in prison. This is Tony Osemiwigie, 27, presented as the “Essential central figure” of this criminal network of exploitation of prostitutes in Marseille; Kelly Orobosa, 27, described as the organizer of the passage of these migrants between Italy and France; and Happy Sunday, one of his deputies. Mr Osemiwigie’s partner, Vera Okoro, was sentenced to eight years in prison. The couple had been denounced in 2017 by “Tassy” and “Beauty”, two prostitutes who joined as a civil party.
Membership of the criminal group Eiye Confraternity
At the hearing, these victims recounted how, once they arrived in Europe, they had been forced to prostitute themselves to reimburse their costs. «This de passage», usually set between 45,000 and 60,000 euros. One of them confirmed that she was raped when she refused to ” work “, and even scalded after being tied to a bed.
Two other defendants, “mamas” – former prostitutes who became pimps once their debt was cleared – were sentenced to five and six years in prison and immediately arrested. “I changed my life, I work now, and my son needs me”, had launched one of them, “Joy” Uyi, at the end of the debates.
In her indictment, prosecutor Sophie Couillaud mentioned Thursday the establishment in Marseille of these Nigerian criminal gangs: “This case plunges into the commodification at the highest level of the human being. Less noisy than what we usually consider, linked to drug trafficking and settling of scores, this crime should not settle in Marseille. ” According to the prosecution, the defendants belong to the criminal group Eiye Confraternity, one of those who gained a foothold in Europe, especially in Italy. It was originally a Nigerian student fraternity.
All the defendants, but also the twenty or so prostitutes they exploited in Marseille and Nice, are from Edo State (southern Nigeria), “The capital, Benin City, is the most important center of human trafficking in Nigeria”, explained Mme Couillaud: “The vast majority of Nigerian migrants arriving on the Italian coast are from there”.