The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) successfully obtained a conviction for Felicia Osaigbovo, a notorious individual involved in human trafficking in Benin, known as Mama Masha.
Hon. Justice Geraldine Imadegbelo of the High Court, Criminal Division, Benin City sentenced her to 12 years in prison and imposed a fine of 24 million Naira.
Felicia, a 62-year-old member of a human trafficking syndicate, was responsible for recruiting and trafficking 12 Nigerian girls to Belgium for sexual exploitation. Notably, 12 other collaborators, including three of the convict’s children, had previously been convicted in Belgium.
In a press release issued by NAPTIP’s press officer, Adekoye Vincent, the Director General of NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi, commended the judiciary’s verdict, highlighting its appropriateness and significance. She also praised the collaborative efforts of the Belgium Police Authorities, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the UK National Crime Agency as part of the Joint Border Task Force Initiative, and UNODC in ensuring justice for the victims.
“NAPTIP shall continue working tirelessly to ensure a safer and better society,” Fatima said.
The case against the convict began on July 1, 2021, with a 24-count charge, including assisting in trafficking in persons and organizing foreign travel to promote prostitution, in violation of the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement and Administration Act (TIPPEA) of 2015.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all counts, and the prosecution presented three witnesses, including a Belgian Chief Inspector of Police, and submitted 13 exhibits as evidence. Following a comprehensive trial, the court found the convict guilty on all 24 counts, resulting in a 12-year prison sentence and a 24 million Naira fine.
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