Man 'used witchcraft to traffic children' for prostitution

Nigerian accused of recruiting orphans using 'juju' rituals to ensure obedience

An alleged people trafficker cut the chest of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl with a razor during a series of "juju" witchcraft rituals aimed at terrifying young recruits into silence before selling them into prostitution across Europe, a court heard yesterday.

Osezua Osolase recruited and raped impoverished young Nigerian orphans and forced them to undergo West African rituals in which hair, nails and blood were removed to "cast a spell" over them and ensure their obedience, Canterbury Crown Court was told.

Mr Osolase, a Nigerian living in Northfleet, Kent, told one of three young victims – who overheard him trying to sell her off for €70,000 – that he had been bringing girls into Britain for 15 years, the court heard.

The 42-year-old then used a series of fake identities, addresses and falsified passports for the trafficked girls and escorted them on budget airlines to cities in Europe to work in the vice trade, said Ms Sarah Ellis, prosecuting.

The court heard that Mr Osolase, posing as a man named Victor, picked up one homeless 16-year-old girl sleeping rough in Lagos and took her to a "place of witchcraft" in the city to establish his control over her.

The teenager – who had been promised an education in Britain – was given a mixture consisting of what appeared to be blood and cloth and told to bathe in it and wrap the cloth around her. As "Victor" watched, a man cut hair from her armpits, some of her finger and toenails and took blood from her hand, said Ms Ellis.

She was told that the body parts taken in the ritual would be used to find and kill her if ever she tried to run away or failed to repay "Victor", the court heard.

"Those rituals are very much about invisible power. They involved the use of objects in order to curse or cast a spell. They are intended to terrify," said Ms Ellis. "They [the body parts] are thought to embody the essence of the owner. When taken, they will allow control at whatever distance."

The jury was shown pictures of the 14-year-old girl, who said that Mr Osolase cut her chest and shoulders with a razor and rubbed black powder into the wounds after she was brought to Britain. "It meant she was carrying the curse inside her," said Ms Ellis.

The teenager was ordered to make an oath of loyalty to Mr Osolase, which if she broke would mean she would not have children, go mad and die, the court heard. The rituals were "an effort to ensure that they would do as they were told … and would never reveal the truth about what really happened to them for fear of death or serious harm," said Ms Ellis.

Mr Osolase was said to have recruited some of the girls from his home country. The court heard that three girls were brought to Britain where he kept them under lock and key and sexually abused them, the court heard. One girl overheard Mr Osolase on the telephone apparently haggling with someone over payment.

The court heard that Mr Osolase had a "double life" married to a German woman – which allowed him freedom to travel across Europe – while also having a Nigerian partner. He had sought to escort the three girls, aged 14, 16, and 17, to Spain and Italy to work as prostitutes, Ms Ellis said. He was arrested twice at Stansted airport before they managed to leave the country, the court heard. Mr Osolase, a former security guard, denies charges that include trafficking, rape, and sexual assault. The trial continues.

News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice