The Val-de-Marne Assize Court in France handed down sentences on Wednesday, following an appeal, to four Nigerian individuals involved in aggravated pimping and human trafficking. The defendants were found guilty of forcing young Nigerian girls into prostitution as part of an organized gang operating in the Bois de Vincennes. The court delivered sentences ranging from eight to 18 years’ imprisonment.
The president of the court, Pascale Pérard, emphasized the gravity of the charges and the inhumane treatment endured by the young victims at the hands of the defendants for financial gain. The sentences mirror those previously imposed by the Paris Assize Court in July 2020, where the defendants received prison terms of 10, 13, 15, and 19 years. The public prosecutor in Creteil had requested prison sentences ranging from nine to 18 years.
Omos Wiseborn, described by the prosecution as actively involved in the organization of the trafficking network, received the maximum sentence of 18 years’ imprisonment. However, his lawyer, Caroline Thévenin, argued that the sentence was overly severe, as Wiseborn was not at the top of the criminal hierarchy.
Dennis Brown and Blessing Ubi were sentenced to 12 and 15 years, respectively, for their role in harboring young girls, coercing them into prostitution, and profiting from their earnings. Their initial sentences were 13 and 15 years, respectively.
Emmanuel Aiwansosa, who was charged with performing a forced abortion on one of the victims and aggravated procuring, had his sentence reduced to eight years’ imprisonment from the initial ten-year term.
Catherine Delanoë Daoud, the lawyer representing one of the victims, expressed that the decision did not come as a surprise to her client, who had bravely shared her traumatic experience of a forced abortion during the trial.
The four Nigerians had been on trial since September 19 for their involvement in recruiting young girls, including minors, from Nigeria by making false promises of employment or educational opportunities. They organized their dangerous journey to France, where the victims were subsequently coerced into working as prostitutes in the Bois de Vincennes.
Throughout the trial, the defendants admitted to the charges but attempted to downplay their level of involvement. They expressed remorse and apologized to the victims, who had courageously recounted their harrowing experiences to the court.
The sentencing sends a strong message against human trafficking and exploitation, highlighting the commitment of the French authorities to combatting these heinous crimes and seeking justice for the victims involved.