London nurse who trafficked women and forced them to eat chicken hearts ordered to repay £184,000

Josephine Iyamu  (PA)
Josephine Iyamu (PA)

A London nurse who is in jail for trafficking vulnerable Nigerian women to the UK has been ordered to repay almost £184,000.

Josephine Iyamu, 54, was the first British national to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act for offences committed overseas in 2018.

Her trial heard how Iyamu, who had lived in Bermondsey, made her victims swear oaths to hand over money during "juju" ceremonies which saw them ordered to eat chicken hearts and drink blood containing worms.

Earlier this month, Iyamu was handed a confiscation order totalling £183,806.06 at Birmingham Crown Court. She is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.

The confiscation amount took into account her available assets, which include a large house in Benin City, Nigeria, where she employed household staff.

If she fails to pay the sum within three months, she will serve an additional two years in prison and still be liable for the money.

Kay Mellor, of the National Crime Agency, said Iyamu targeted vulnerable women to profit considerably from their misery.

“Iyamu’s expenditure on travel and properties far outweighed her legitimate earnings as a nurse and our investigation into her finances proved she made hundreds of thousands of pounds from her criminality,” she said.

“Iyamu was calculated, manipulative and motivated by money. Not only is she serving a hefty prison sentence, but she won’t be living a luxury lifestyle when she comes out.”

The former nurse first came to the police’s attention in July 2017 after German Police identified one of her victims working in a brothel in Trier.

The National Crime Agency tracked down Iyamu, also known as Madame Sandra, and established she had positioned herself as a rich and powerful person in Nigeria.

There she had launched a political campaign, through which she claimed she wanted to empower women and families.

Using her status, Iyamu recruited vulnerable women from rural villages and promised them a better life in Europe.

She charged them up to 38,000 Euro for facilitating their travel and forced them to work as prostitutes in Germany to pay off their debts.

Before they left, she put her victims through a humiliating ‘Juju’ ceremony, which included drinking blood containing worms.