A 54-year-old woman, Mrs. Helen Ehionzee, and her children, Endurance and Vivian, have been sentenced to 34 years imprisonment for trafficking 19-year-old girl to Russia for prostitution. The woman and her children were convicted by a Benin High Court without an option of fine.
The convicts were arraigned before the Benin High Court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) following their arrest over the trafficking of the victim to Russia in 2012. Adekoye Vincent of the Press and Public Relations Unit of NAPTIP, said the victim, who was later rescued from the sexual exploitation by a Russian based non-governmental organisation, was 19 years old at the time of the incident and was recruited from Benin with fake promise of a profitable job abroad. According to him, this 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.
He said: “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 November 7, 2017, before the then Honourable Justice Eruaga now retired.”
Vincent also explained that the case started on October 29, 2018, where the defendants pleaded not guilty to an amended charge dated October 5, 2018 to wit: count one, procurement of persons for prostitution contrary to Section 15 (a) for first and second defendants.
The prosecution called four witnesses in proof of its case, while the defendants testified for themselves and called no witness. The first defendant, Endurance Ehiozee, male, now 37, was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on count one, and 10 years imprisonment on count three to run concurrently without option of fine. The second defendant, Vivian Omoyemwen Ehiozee, 31, was sentenced to 14 years on count one and 10 years on count two without option of fine.
“The third defendant, Helen Ehiozee, who is the mother to first and second defendants, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on count three without an option of fine. The defendants are from Egor Local Government Area of Edo State,” Vincent said. Delivering the judgement at the Criminal Court 2, Hon. Justice Geraldine Imadubelo said that the sentences were without option of fine.