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Yuletide: NAPTIP activates surveillance strategies to match antics of traffickers-DG

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NAPTIP Director General, Bar Julie Okah-Donli

*Hails court over conviction of mother,2 children over human trafficking in Edo

By Joseph Erunke

DIRECTOR General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons,NAPTIP,Julie Okah-Donli,said the agency has since activated surveillance strategies to match antics of traffickers traffickers ahead of the yuletide.

This was as she commended the judiciary for its collaboration with the agency in ensuring it stamp out human trafficking in the country, saying she was particularly elated over the recent conviction of a mother and two of her children by a court sitting in Benin,Edo State,following their arrest and prosecution by her agency for involvement in the act.

A statement from NAPTIP through Adekoye Vincent, of its Press and Public Relations Unit,quoted the director general,saying this while reacting to the conviction of 54 year old woman, Mrs. Helen Ehionzee and her two children, Endurance and Vivian, by a Benin High Court which sentenced them to 34 years imprisonment without option of fine for an offence of human trafficking and exploitation.

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“Dame Julie Okah-Donli, hailed the judgment of the Court saying that the sentence which was without option of fine will certainly serve as deterrent to would-be traffickers,” the statement said.

“I am glad that adequate justice was dully served on the convicts. I commend the Judiciary in Nigeria for their support in the fight against human trafficking and I sue for more support.

“I also commend officers and men of the Benin Zonal Command for the diligent prosecution of the case.

” On our own part, we shall continue to unleash heat on human traffickers in the country. Our resolve to make Nigeria a human trafficking free nation is resolute and unwavering.

“It is in the realization of this that we have commenced the inauguration of State Task Forces on Human Trafficking in the Country among other counter trafficking measures.

“We have also activated our surveillance strategies to match the antics of the traffickers ahead of the yuletide, the NAPTIP Director General stated.    

Recall that the sledge hammer of justice fell heavily on a 54 year old woman, Mrs. Helen Ehionzee and her two children, Endurance and Vivian, as a Benin High Court sentenced them to 34 years imprisonment without option of fine for an offence of human trafficking and exploitation.

The convicts were dragged before the Benin High Court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) following their arrest over the trafficking of a girl (Name withheld) to Russia in 2012.

The victims who was later rescued from the sexual exploitation by a Russian Based Non – Governmental organization, was 19years old at the time of the incident and was recruited from Benin with a fake promise of profitable job abroad. 

The latest development came on the heels of the repeated warnings by the Director General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah- Donli, who is also the Chair of the newly inaugurated Board of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking that the Agency shall no more tolerate any form of trafficking in the Country.

Following the arrest of the convicts by operatives of NAPTIP and detailed investigation, the case was subsequently charged to the Benin High Court with charge No B/NAPTIP/IC/19 on the 7th November, 2017 before the then Hon. Justice Eruaga now retired.

The case started de-novo on 29th October, 2018 where the defendants pleaded not guilty to an amended charge dated 5th October, 2018 to wit :

Count 1, procurement of persons for prostitution contrary to Section 15 (a) for 1st & 2nd defendants .

Count 2, Organizing foreign travels which promotes prostitution S. 16 for 2nd defendant 

Count 3, Promoting foreign travels which promotes prostitution Section 16 of the Trafficking in persons prohibition law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003 as amended, for 1st and 3rd defendants

The Prosecution called 4 witnesses in proof of its case while the defendants testified for themselves and called no witness.

The 1st defendant (Endurance Ehiozee) male now 37yrs of age was sentenced to 14yrs imprisonment on count 1 and 10 yrs imprisonment on count 3 to run concurrently without option of fine.

The 2nd defendant( Vivian Omoyemwen Ehiozee)31yrs was sentenced to 14yrs on count 1 and 10 yrs on count 2 without option of fine.

The 3rd defendant(Helen Ehiozee 54 yrs and mother to 1st and 2nd defendants was sentenced to 10 yrs imprisonment on count 3 with out an option of fine.

The defendants are from Egor Local Government Area of  Edo State.

Delivering the Judgement at Criminal Court 2, Hon. Justice Geraldine  Imadubelo said that the sentences are without option of fine.

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