Two Nigerians, Lizzy Idahosa and Jackson Omoruyi, have been jailed for eight and two years respectively for human trafficking and inciting prostitution in the United Kingdom.
Their trial and conviction followed a UK Home Office investigation into the trafficking of Nigerian women into the UK for sexual exploitation.
A statement on Thursday from the British Home Office said the 24-year-old Idahosa was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday, November 7 after being found guilty last month for women trafficking around the UK, inciting prostitution and money laundering.
Her partner, Omoruyi, 41, was also jailed after the jury found him guilty of two money laundering offences.
The British Home Office stated that the investigation into their activities began after the Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers carried out an operation at the Ambassador Suite Massage Parlour, on City Road, Cardiff, in June 2013.
It explained that a Nigerian woman found there told officers she had been trafficked into the UK several years previously by Idahosa and since then had been working in the sex industry.
During the investigation by the Home Officeâ€™s Criminal Investigations Team, officers persuaded a second victim to speak to them and she also said Idahosa had trafficked her into the UK to work in the sex industry.
Both victims it noted, said that before travelling to London, they had been subjected to â€˜jujuâ€™ rituals in Nigeria in which they ate snails and snakes, had their hair shaved, drank dirty water and were cut with a razor.
On arrival, Idahosa told the women that each owed him Â£50,000 for helping to facilitate their way to the UK and they or their families in Nigeria would be harmed if the â€˜debtâ€™ was not repaid.
The Home Office equally stated that the women told the trial that they worked at brothels around England and Wales including London, Croydon, Stevenage, Brighton, Swansea and Cardiff and paying their earnings directly to Idahosa or through Omoruyiâ€™s bank account.
Officers from the Home Office Criminal Investigation team arrested Idahosa and Omoruyi in a property in Dressington Avenue, Lewisham, South London in April this year.
Following a trial lasting more than three weeks at Cardiff Crown Court in September and October, Idahosa was found guilty of two counts of trafficking into the UK, two of trafficking within the UK, two counts of inciting prostitution and two charges of money laundering. She was thus jailed for eight years.
Omoruyi was convicted of two counts of money laundering and was imprisoned for two years.
The Modern Slavery Minister, Karen Bradley was quoted in the statement to have said: â€œTrafficking and slavery are appalling crimes that are still happening in modern Britain, as this case shows.
â€œThat is why we are taking action. The Modern Slavery Bill, one of the first of its kind in the world, will make it easier to prosecute the criminals behind trafficking and improve the protection of victims.
â€œThe bill will consolidate and strengthen legislation, making it easier to prosecute the organised criminals behind the majority of modern slavery. It will ensure that people involved in these crimes receive the toughest sentences by increasing the maximum available sentence to life imprisonment.â€
Also, Nick Jupp, from the Home Officeâ€™s Criminal Investigations Team in Wales, said that: â€œOur officers have put a stop to the appalling sexual exploitation of two victims who were actively targeted, manipulated, threatened and forced into prostitution.
â€œI hope this case sends a message to those involved in trafficking that our investigators will track you down and bring you to justice. The two victims were extremely vulnerable but we investigated this case carefully and sensitively and brought those responsible to justice.
â€œTrafficking is an abhorrent crime and we urge any victims to come forward so we can offer them the best possible protection and support,â€ he added.