The Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Chief Magistrate Court, sitting in Awka, Anambra State, has sentenced a 35-year-old woman, Success James, to prison for offences of child labor, child exploitation, abduction of children and child stealing.
The convict was earlier apprehended at Onitsha and arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court in Awka, sometime in December, 2022, for abducting four teenage girls and subjecting them to child labour and sexual exploitation.
The teenage girls were rescued by the Anambra State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon Ify Obinabo, in collaboration with police operatives in December, 2022.
The victims, aged between 13 and 15 years old, all from Akwa Ibom State, were rescued during a raid operation in a brothel in Delta State owned and managed by the convict.
The convict prosecuted before the Court on an 8-count charge of conspiracy, other offences bothering on child labour, sexual exploitation and child stealing, and found guilty of seven of the charges by the presiding Court.
Delivering judgement on the case, the Presiding Chief Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe found Success James guilty of count 1 and sentenced her to 5 years imprisonment; count 2 attracted 5 years imprisonment; she was slammed 2 years imprisonment in count 3; count 4 was 4 years imprisonment; 2 years imprisonment in count 5; in count 7, she was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment, while count 8 attracted 1 year imprisonment.
The Chief Magistrate, however, declared that all the sentences would run concurrently, without any option of fine.
In their separate evidences before the Honourable Court, the victims told the Court that they were lured into prostitution business by one aunty Success who told them that she had a job opportunity for them in Agbor, Delta state, where they would be selling drinks in a beer parlor; but on getting to Agbor, they discovered that it was prostitution work they were brought to do.
Reacting to the judgement, the Women and Social Welfare Commissioner Hon. Obinabo expressed happiness over the speedy trial of the case and revealed that the children had been enrolled in school, while those who preferred learning skills acquisition had started learning skills of their choice at the state-owned Skills Acquisition Center, in Awka.
Hon Obinabo went further to warn that Anambra state Government would not tolerate any crimes of such nature and would continue to do her best to ensure that children and women in the state get justice, whenever their rights are violated.