Four Nigerians were sentenced on appeal on Wednesday to between eight- and 18-years’ imprisonment by the Val-de-Marne Assize Court in France, for aggravated pimping in an organized gang and human trafficking, with young Nigerian girls forced into prostitution as their victims, in the Bois de Vincennes.
"The court took into account the extreme seriousness of the charges" and "the way in which these young girls were able to see their humanity denied for mercenary purposes", emphasized the president, Pascale Pérard, as she read out the verdict.
The sentences are like those handed down by the Paris Assize Court, which sentenced the defendants to 10-, 13-, 15- and 19-years’ imprisonment in July 2020. In Creteil, the public prosecutor had requested prison sentences ranging from nine to 18 years.
For Omos Wiseborn, who "actively participated in the organization of this network" according to the prosecution, the court followed the public prosecutor's recommendations and sentenced him to 18 years' imprisonment. An "extremely severe" sentence for his lawyer, Caroline Thévenin, "which does not reflect Omos Wiseborn's real involvement in this criminal network: he was not at the top of the pyramid", she said.
Dennis Brown and Blessing Ubi were sentenced to 12 and 15 years respectively for harboring young girls, forcing them into prostitution, and collecting the money they earned from their nights of sex. They had previously been sentenced to 13- and 15-years’ imprisonment.
Emmanuel Aiwansosa, on trial for performing a forced abortion on one of the civil parties and for aggravated procuring, has been sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, compared with ten years at first instance.
"It's a decision that won't shock my client," said Catherine Delanoë Daoud, lawyer for Gloria (first name changed), who was 14 years old at the time of the events, and who had told the court about her savage, forced abortion last Thursday.
The four Nigerians had been on trial since September 19 for recruiting young girls, some of them minors, in Nigeria on false promises of jobs or studies, and organizing their perilous journey to France, where once they arrived, they were forced to work as prostitutes in the Bois de Vincennes.
Throughout the hearing, the defendants acknowledged the facts, but sought to minimize their role and involvement. They also expressed regret and apologized to the victims, who had recounted their ordeal to the court.