A female trafficking boss was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Thursday for using threats of witchcraft to exert control over almost 40 women and girls brought from Nigeria to Europe for sex work.
Franca Asemota, 38, was found guilty of conspiracy to traffic persons for sexual exploitation, trafficking persons outside of the UK for sexual exploitation, and assisting unlawful migration.
Isleworth Crown Court in west London heard that Asemota was part of a criminal network that trafficked girls, boys and women to Europe, using the threat of "juju magic" and rituals with curses to exert control over her victims.
"The girls were told that if they disobeyed their captors or tried to escape, the curse would cause them injury, infertility or even death."
Prosecutor David Davies said Asemota targeted girls from poor, rural backgrounds with little knowledge of the world, promising them legitimate jobs in Europe between August 2011 and May 2012.
Prosecutions for human trafficking in England and Wales have increased since the introduction of a new anti-slavery law last year, with about 180 people prosecuted between April and December 2015, which prosecutors said was a new record.