By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul yesterday convicted one Jenifer Ozuem, a Nigerian on two counts of trafficking and importation of persons.
Jenifer Ozuem is alleged to have, in July, 2021 at Lamin, engaged in the trafficking of a lady, name withheld from the Federal Republic of Nigerian into the Gambia for the purposes of exploiting her into prostitution at Class One Lodge in Dippakunda and some other places.
The second count alleged that Jenifer Ozuem, imported the victim into the Gambia with intent that she will be forced into prostitution at Class One Lodge or anywhere in the Gambia.
Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh disclosed that Jenifer was arraigned before the court on the 23 November, 2021 and she pleaded not guilty to both counts and the prosecution led by Principal State Counsel Patrick Gomes opened the prosecution case and called three witnesses.
The trial Judge asserted that the Manager of Class One Lodge, Ndey Madeline Jatta testified as the 1st witness in the trial and told the court that she knows Jenifer and that she worked at her lodge as a prostitute.
The trial Judge further asserted that the witness, Ndey also testified that she knows the victim through Jenifer and that the victim worked in her Lodge as a prostitute.
Justice Jaiteh said the 2nd witness, the victim herself, a 21-year-old student from Delta State in Nigeria, testified that she knows Jenifer Ozuem.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that it is clear from the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that there is clear evidence that Jenifer forced, coerced and treated the victim with contempt and exploited her for prostitution.
Justice Jaiteh said the evidence of the prosecution was not controverted by the accused since she opted to rest her case on the case of the prostitution.
Justice Jaiteh declared that Jenifer Ozuem is found guilty of both counts of trafficking in person and importation of persons into the Gambia and he adjourned the case for plea of mitigation and sentencing to 2 May, 2023.