A Nigerian born pastor and 23 other suspected individuals of a sex trafficking ring who have been accused of forcing Nigerian women into prostitution in France, went on trial on Wednesday 6th November 2019 in France.
Many of their victims were women and girls who were lured to Europe with false promises of jobs as hairdressers or tailors, only to find themselves selling sex on arrival to repay their debts. The investigation which was carried out in Lyon revealed that half the city’s sex workers are Nigerians. Investigations began after authorities received a tip about a certain Nigerian pastor who was accused of utilizing several sex workers who lived in apartments he owned.
The pastor has been revealed to go by the name Stanley Omoregie. He has however denied the charges, which include aggravated pimping and slavery. However, in the transcript of the conversation which was submitted to the court, he is heard saying he wanted “those with beautiful bodies, who can be controlled, not those that cause problems.”
The prosecution presented the pastor as the kingpin of a family-based syndicate which are made up of 10 women and 14 men, including one of Europe’s most wanted woman, Jessica Edosomwan. She has been accused of recruiting several destitute women in Nigeria for the sex trade in Lyon, Nimes and Montpellier.
Most of these women come from Benin in Edo State and many of them told the investigators that they had taken part in “juju” or black magic rituals before leaving Nigeria so as to repay their debt.
Many of these women took this migrant trail across the Sahara Desert to Libya and then across the Mediterranean to Italy before winding up in Lyon.