The alleged victim said she underwent a “voodoo process” in Nigeria before coming to Ireland, during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.
Joy Imasogie, aged 40, of Chapleswood Crescent, Hollystown, Dublin 15, has pleaded not guilty to organising for the woman to enter the country illegally, to compelling or coercing the woman to be a prostitute, and to controlling or directing the activities of prostitution for gain on dates between March 2006 and April 2008.
In his opening to the jury, Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, said it would hear evidence Ms Imasogie “trafficked” the then 20-year-old into Ireland in March 2006, before forcing her to work as a prostitute to pay back the money she was told she owed to get here.
The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the trial she was living in dire financial circumstances with her grandmother in Benin City, Nigeria, in 2006 when a neighbour told her he knew somebody in Europe who was looking for girls.
The woman said she then spoke on the phone to Ms Imasogie, who told her she owned a hair salon in Ireland and asked her if she was a “good girl”.
“She said I could help out in the salon and mind her children,” the woman told the court.
The woman said a man named Kingsley then arranged for her to visit a village where she swore an oath before a “native doctor”. Her nails and pubic hair were cut and she then swore she would not report Ms Imasogie or Kingsley to the police, she said.
She also swore she would pay back a sum of €50,000, which she was told was the cost of travelling to Ireland. This was some kind of “voodoo process”, said Mr Naidoo.
The woman said she then travelled to Lagos, was provided with a false passport that contained an Irish visa, and boarded a flight to Dublin on March 9, 2006. All her travel arrangements were paid for and she had no money on her, she said.
The woman said that, pon arriving in Ireland, she was taken to a house in Finglas where she met Ms Imasogie.
“She told me I would have to sleep with men for money and that way I’d be able to pay the money quickly,” said the woman. “I was angry and crying, saying this wasn’t what I was told... I didn’t want to do that.”
The woman said she initially thought €50,000 would be “easy” to pay off, before realising it was a “huge” amount. “I was very bitter,” she said.
The woman said Ms Imasogie then cut her nails and her pubic hair.
“I think it was to scare me probably,” she said.
The court heard the woman then travelled to Sligo with another Nigerian woman where she was told she had to have sex with an Irish man she met. She said she tried to just give him a massage but “he was insisting I do it”, she said.
The trial continues.