Two young Refugee Council clients gave evidence at a trial of a sex trafficker who was last week sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The girls, who are supported by the Refugee Council’s Children’s Section, were chief witnesses to the prosecution and gave evidence about their own experiences of being trafficked from Nigeria for exploitation in the UK .
Osezua Osolase, based in Kent, was found guilty of five counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday. He was said to have used juju witchcraft to silence young girls and smuggle them into the UK, when he then attempted to ‘sell’ them on to gangs in Europe for sexual exploitation. The judge sentencing him said that he was “devoid of conscience, devoid of compassion to [his] victims”.
Helen Johnson, Operations Manager of the Children’s Section said: “It was incredibly brave of our young clients to stand up in court and recount their experiences of being trafficked to the UK by this man. It is thanks to them and other people who came forward that justice has been done.
“Every day we work with young girls who have been through similarly horrifying experiences, and we see the lasting effects trafficking can have on them. We are constantly amazed by their resilience, and that they have the strength to start rebuilding their lives here.”
Last year the Government identified nearly 500 children trafficked to the UK and more than 2,000 adults trafficked to the UK, yet there were only eight convictions under human trafficking legislation, according to ECPAT. The Refugee Council has a specialist Young Women’s Adviser, Vesna Hall, who works with vulnerable young women and girls, including those who are victims of trafficking, to start rebuilding their lives here, through therapeutic services, social activities, and education projects.
BBC: Osezua Osolase jailed for ‘juju’ rituals trafficker
Independent: Jailed: the slave trader in Britain who sold women around Europe for sex under the spell of his ‘juju’ witchcraft