Stratford sex trafficker jailed

A council caretaker who smuggled two teenage girls into Britain and forced them to work as prostitutes after they were put under a Juju curse, has been jailed for 20 years.

Failed Nigerian asylum seeker Anthony Harrison, 32, is the first ever person to be convicted of trafficking the victims out of the UK.

He led a double life as a “key player” in a people trafficking gang which used bizarre rituals to trap the children into sex slavery.

The two teenage girls underwent a series of rituals in which one was stripped naked, cut all over her body with razors and locked in a coffin for hours.

She was also made to drink blood and eat a raw chicken’s heart.

Harrison’s asylum application was refused but he was later given indefinite leave to stay under the legacy programme.

He organised the smuggling of the girls aged just 14 and 16 while he worked for Newham Council under the name Charles Pepple.

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They were given a script to tell the immigration authorities and told to claim they were lesbians fleeing persecution.

Harrison then shipped them on to Spain and Greece to work in the sex industry.

Jailing evil Harrison, Judge Philip Shorrock said: “The trafficking of young girls from rural villages in Nigeria so they can be compelled to work as prostitutes is a vile business.

“When they are as young as these girls are and their innocence and credulity is exploited by subjecting them to Juju ceremonies to terrify them into obedience and silence it is a trade, that is viler still.”

Jurors heard how the two girls were “sold” by their families in Nigeria to traffickers.

Harrison’s defence was that he was helping the girls and he claimed to have no knowledge of trafficking.

Both girls feared they would die by curse if they exposed their captors to UK authorities.

Harrison, of Albert Square, Stratford, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to traffic people into the UK for sexual exploitation, two of conspiracy to traffic out of the UK for sexual exploitation, two counts of false imprisonment and four of conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration law.

The jury cleared him of two charges of rape.

He admitted five counts of fraud by using false names to obtain employment, credit cards and telephones at the outset of the trial.