Home London News Nurse trafficked women and gave them ‘worm-infested blood’ to drink

Nurse trafficked women and gave them ‘worm-infested blood’ to drink

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Josephine Iyamu

A practicing nurse from London is serving an 18 year prison sentence for trafficking Nigerian women and forcing them into prostitution across europe. She has recently made headlines for a new court-imposed order to pay £183,806.06.

Josephine Iyamu, 54, who operated under the name ‘Madame Sandra’, became a rich and powerful woman by exploiting penniless women from rural Nigerian villages who longed for a better life.

Iyamu, formerly of Bermondsey, made these women consume chicken hearts, drink worm-infested blood, and ruthlessly rubbed powder into open wounds and cuts during rituals.

When sentencing Iyamu, Judge Richard Bond said she had shown “a complete disregard for the welfare of these women” and she “saw them not as living, breathing human beings but as commodities to earn you large sums of money.”

She forced these women to partake in a degrading ‘Juju’ ceremony, designed to ‘bond’ the victim to their trafficker. This made them believe serious harm would come to them or their families if they broke their ‘oath’ to her. It was a form of ideological coercion.

Iyamu’s conviction under the Modern Slavery Act for offences committed overseas was an unprecedented move. It was a landmark prosecution, spearheaded by the National Crime Agency back in 2018. On March the 4th, she was dealt a confiscation order by Birmingham Crown Court, instructing her to pay nearly £184k within 3 months or she will have to serve an additional 2 years in prison.

The confiscation total took into account the assets still available to the convicted sex trafficker, including a large house in Benin City, Nigeria, where she was an employer to staff in the property.

The UK’s National Crime Agency Senior Investigating Officer, Kay Mellor, said: “Josephine Iyamu specifically targeted vulnerable women and put them through the most horrific experience, only to profit considerably form their misery. Iyamu’s expenditure on travel and properties far outweighed her legitimate earnings as a nurse and our investigation into her finances proved she made hundreds of thousands of pounds from her criminality.

“Confiscation orders are a key tool which provide us with the capability to really hit criminals where it hurts – in the pocket. Iyamu was calculated, manipulative and motivated by money. Not only is she serving a hefty prison sentence, but she won’t be living a luxury lifestyle when she comes out.”

Five of Iyamu’s victims stood in court, and heart-wrenchingly detailed their treacherous ordeal of traveling across Africa by land, then via boat to Italy, before finally flying to Germany under disingenuous identities provided for them by Iyamu’s associates.

Specialist officers arrested Iaymu at Heathrow on August 24, 2017, and upon conviction, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but due to the gravity of her operation, the prosecution felt it was necessary to appeal, and thus, this was increased to 18 years.

While in prison, Iyamu attempted to intimidate her victims’ families, and also to financially bribe law enforcement officials, in desperate attempts to change her circumstances.

Her convictions stand as follows: five counts of facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, and one count of attempting to prevent the course of justice.

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