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Press releases archive

 

Victims’ courage helps to convict trafficker over Nigerian child sex ring

29 October 2012

OsolaseECPAT UK has today heralded the bravery of three teenage girls who gave evidence to convict a Kent man of trafficking for sexual exploitation in a case in which police believe there were up to 28 victims trafficked to the UK over a 14-month period.  We hope that this result will encourage police and prosecutors to do more to bring child traffickers to justice. This is vital to discourage others from committing these horrendous crimes in the future. 

Osezua Osolase, 42, of Gravesend (left), was today sentenced to 20 years in prison after a jury at Canterbury Crown Court found him guilty of trafficking for sexual exploitation, one count of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.

Osolase preyed on the vulnerable girls in Nigeria, promising them modelling careers, education and a better life. However, the teenagers were trafficked to the UK before being forced into prostitution in Europe facing a life of fear and sexual violence.

His victims, orphans aged 14, 16 and 17, were subject to juju ceremonies in Nigeria, a traditional West African practice that was exploited in order to gain control of the girls. The terrified children were cut with razors, had head and pubic hair removed, and told to swear an oath of silence.

ECPAT UK has come across many cases in which juju is used to buy the silence of children, to terrify them into not disclosing what has happened to them for fear of death or injury to themselves or their families. It is for this reason that we provide specialist training on the use of juju and witchcraft in child exploitation to frontline professionals.

Colin Walker, Deputy Director of ECPAT UK, said: “We welcome the dedication of police in bringing this case to court and shining a light on the horror and reality of child trafficking in the UK today.  These children were subject to terror, abuse and will live with the scars of what he did to them for the rest of their lives.

“We pay tribute to the bravery shown by these three girls who demonstrated such tremendous courage to stand up to their abuser and to tell the world what he did in order to stop it happening to other children.

“Theirs is a message that needs to be heard and needs to be taken seriously. Child trafficking is here in the UK and cannot be ignored. Last year the Government identified nearly 500 children and more than 2,000 adults trafficked to the UK, yet there were only eight convictions under human trafficking legislation. These are shamefully low rates of conviction. More must be done to bring these criminals to justice and prevent more vulnerable children falling victim to abuse.”

One of Osolase’s victims told ECPAT UK: “I am so happy he is in prison. No one noticed what he was doing. I came all the way from Nigeria and no one noticed - I knew nobody here. He raped me and told me I was nobody but now I am somebody because I helped expose him.”

Juju expert and former Met Police detective Andy Desmond, who delivers training with ECPAT UK on juju and witchcraft, said:  “Juju is such a powerful spiritual belief that has been hijacked by the traffickers to control their victims. Although this court case is over and the trafficker has been sent to jail, the victims will strongly believe that that are still tied to their contract with the demi-gods who they were forced to swear an oath to. For them, it will take many years to recover or feel safe from the juju.”

Osolase was found not guilty of one count of trafficking, three rapes, and one charge of actual bodily harm.

Sentencing him today (29 October), Judge Adele Williams told Osolase, a recycling worker, that he was "devoid of conscience, devoid of compassion to your victims". It was recommended that he be deported after serving his sentence.

To find out more about the use of juju in child exploitation, please visit our Training page.

Press Contact
Colin Walker, Deputy Director, ECPAT UK
Tel:  020 7233 9887

Information for editors:
•    ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a leading UK children’s rights organisation. ECPAT UK works with the highest levels of government, but also reaches out to practitioners and those working directly with children through research, training and capacity building
•    For statistics on child trafficking, please visit: http://www.ecpat.org.uk/media/new-child-trafficking-figures-are-%E2%80%98tip-iceberg%E2%80%99

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ECPAT UK is the leading expert voice on child trafficking in the UK and we offer a comprehensive training programme focused on safeguarding young people from trafficking, modern slavery, and transnational abuse. To find out more visit our training page

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