Nurse Josephine Lyamu must pay back almost £184k in slavery case

A NURSE has been ordered to pay back almost £184,000 after being convicted of forcing other women into sex work.

Josephine Iyamu, also known as Madame Sandra in London, was arrested at Heathrow Airport after landing on a flight from Lagos in August 2017.

A court heard how the ‘manipulative’ London-based nurse trafficked Nigerian women to Europe and forced them into sex work.

The ‘landmark’ investigation came about after police in Germany identified one of her victims working in a brothel in Trier.

The National Crime Agency worked with the Nigeria Agency for Prohbition of Trafficking in Persons to look into her actvity from July 2017.

Officers found she had positioned herself as a rich and powerful woman in Nigeria and launched a political campaign – claiming she wanted to empower women and families.

Using her status, Iyamu recruited vulnerable women from rural villages and promised them a better life in Europe. She charged them up to 38,000 Euro for facilitating their travel and forced them to work as prostitutes in Germany to pay off their debts.

Before they left, she put victims through a Juju ceremony – a humiliating ritual designed to exert control over them. The women believed serious harm would come to them or their families if they broke their oath.

She was convicted of 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 and jailed for 14 years in July 2018.

Following an appeal, the 54 year old’s sentence was increased to 18 years two months later.

At Birmingham Crown Court on March 4, 2022, she was ordered to pay back £183,806.06.

NCA Senior Investigating Officer, Kay Mellor, said: “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.”

The confiscation order took into account her available assets, which include a large house in Benin City, Nigeria, where she employed household staff.

If she does not pay within three months, she will serve an extra two years in prison and still be liable for the money.

Slough Observer | News