This week, a British court found Mrs. Josephine Iyamu, a nurse of Nigerian descent, guilty of trafficking 5 women to Germany for prostitution.

Ahead of the 2015 election however, Mrs. Iyamu sought to represent the people of Egor local government of Edo in the State House of Assembly.

Interestingly, Iyamu also has Liberian roots and has been described in the press as a 'Liberian-born British citizen'.

She was convicted of five counts of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation and perverting the course of justice, the BBC reports.

During her trial, members of the jury were told that the 51-year-old nurse coerced the women — all Nigerians — to swear to secrecy and to also pay for her service.

Juju and prostitution

TheCable reports that the rituals Iyamu asked the girls to undergo, included eating chicken hearts, drinking blood containing worms, and rubbing powder into cuts.

Lead prosecution counsel, Simon Davis, said Iyamu exerted “psychological control” over the women during the “juju” rituals.

According to him, the victims were forced to incur huge debts through fear.

One of the victims was allegedly forced to pay as much as £32,700 (approximately N13 million) to make the dangerous journey from Nigeria into Germany through the Mediterranean.

Edo State House of Assembly

A campaign poster of Iyamu circa 2015, showed her seeking to join the Edo State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to represent the people of Egor local government area of the State.

Josephine Iyamu ran for political office in Edo State

Iyamu’s mission was to “inspire support for the empowerment of women and families”.

According to TheCable, Iyamu campaigned using the name Sandra Josephine Imaghodor.

She promised greater women representation in Edo politics and women rights, if she won the election.

Edo as trafficking hub

The CNN once described Edo State in a documentary as “Nigeria’s trafficking hub and one of Africa’s largest departure points. Each year, tens of thousands of migrants are illegally smuggled from here. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe, most having sold everything they own to finance the journey”.

CNN journalist Nima Elbagir says Edo State “It is the main departure point for so much of these smuggling routes and yet, these traders are able to ply their trade so openly.”

Iyamu is the first person to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act passed into law by the British government in 2015, the BBC reports.

Iyamu will be sentenced on July 4, 2018.