By RFIPosted on 06-11-2019Modified on 06-11-2019 at 19:26

The victims are young women from Nigeria via a smuggling route between Benin-City and Lyon. The network has been active since 2015.

With our special correspondent in Lyon , Pierre Olivier

Stanley Omoregie, 35, shaved close and small goat under his chin stayed perfectly straight in his boots facing the pressing questions of the president of the court. The so-called "splendor" is a pastor who just wanted to help the people in his community.

In a good French, which he considers to be the fruit of a successful integration, he shouts at the plot. However, from his first answers, doubt settles. He admits that he rented apartments to young Nigerian women, but he never suspected that they were prostitutes, he said.

The president continues: " How do you think these women were doing to pay you rents of several hundred euros a month, without working, since they had no residence permit? Stanley Omoregie replies that he wanted to be of service, without trying to find out where the money came from.

More troubling still, this text in which he asks an unknown number to send him " the best ", " those who are mature and have beautiful bodies ." Again, Stanley Omoregie remains vague but ends up acknowledging, lip service, that he heard that some girls he was serving prostituted themselves.

Finally, in front of the court, he says, " May God kill me now if a girl has worked for me. "

Young defendants

What is surprising in this trial is that of the 22 defendants present, almost half are women. They are all Nigerian, mostly under 35 years old, and suspected of being the "mamas" of the network, in other words pimps.

The men present are also relatively young, with the exception of the only French suspected of being involved in this network. Sixty years old, he was the mechanic who repaired the vans of prostitutes and took advantage of their services.

More generally, among these 22 defendants, 11 appear in pre-trial detention in the defendants' box and 11 are free under judicial supervision.

And already the first profile elements common to all these suspected members appear. Almost all say they are unemployed and live on social benefits such as family allowance or asylum seeker's allowance. Some also confess moonlighting to survive, but never for more than a few hundred euros a month. Moreover, before this case, almost no defendant had been sentenced by the courts.

They each incur ten years in prison for crimes ranging from pimping to human trafficking.

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