A Benin high court has sentenced a 28-year-old prostitute, Vivian Francis, to one-year imprisonment with an option of fine of N125,000 for trafficking three of her teenage siblings for prostitution in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The Edo State Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP), disclosed the conviction on Wednesday.
NAPTIP Zonal Commander Mrs Ijeoma Uduak, who made the disclosure, said the convict lured the victims – aged 15, 17, 18 – from Cross River State to Benin on the pretence that she was going to secure jobs for them.
She said the convict was arrested at a popular hotel in Benin during the thick of the COVID-19 lockdown, adding that she confessed to the crime, punishable under section 13 of the NAPTIP Act.
Uduak added that the convict was arraigned before Justice Isoken Erameh of the state high court (3), Criminal Division, where she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment or an option of N125, 000 fine as a first time offender.
‘We clamped down on the suspect during the COVID-19 lockdown in a popular hotel in Benin. She confessed going to Cross River State to bring the three girls, who were aged 15, 17, and 18. She told them that she had secured a bar attendant jobs for them, but when they got here she started using them for prostitution and collecting the proceeds.
‘She was arrested and charged to the court in violation of Section 13 of the NAPTIP Act. She pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment with an option of N125, 000 fine,’ the Edo Zonal NAPTIP Commander said.
She further announced that the victims had been reunited with their family in Cross River State.
Later in an interview with reporters, 28-year-old Vivian, who is from Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State, said she made a mistake by luring her siblings to Benin for prostitution.
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‘I have made a mistake by bringing my sisters to Benin. I did not know it was going to end up this way. I just felt they should keep themselves busy in Benin that was why I fixed them in that line.
‘When they came to Benin, they realised that I was into prostitution that was why I told them to do the same. I pray that others should not make the kind of mistake I made,’ she said remorsefully.
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