Jessica Edosomwan, a 26-year-old Nigerian woman, was identified as one of the 18 most sought-after female fugitives by the French authorities on Friday, 18 October.
She is alleged to have been part of a gang of human smugglers who used a form of witchcraft known as’ juju’ to force slavery on young Nigerian women. The gang had kept the girls in terrible conditions operating in every major French city, charging them exorbitant rents.
The girls were then prostituted on the streets, run by an older woman posing as’ la Mama.’ The money they earned was then sent back by an unofficial payment system known as’ hawala’ to Nigeria.
Since 2017, Jessica Edosomwan is on the run and maybe in France, Belgium or Germany, Europol said. The case of Jessica was illustrated by Europol’s initiative ‘ Crime has no sex,’ in which the faces of fugitives are artistically disguised on the website of the agency, with their names and descriptions of their crimes exposed as visitors scroll down the page.
Those convicted or accused of crimes, including murder, robbery, drug trafficking and serious fraud by countries across Europe, are among the 17 other women wanted.
Europol spokeswoman Tine Hollevoet said: “People usually think that these crimes are not perpetrated by women, but they are as serious as those perpetrated by men. The identity of the wanted fugitive is exposed when a viewer scrolls[ on the Europol website] and they will be able to see if it’s a man or a woman.
“The idea is to attract as many visitors as possible, with experience showing us that the higher the chance to locate and arrest the person sought, the more eyes that look at the fugitives sought.”
Here are some of the women’s crimes: Kristi Amberg is wanted in Estonia for drug trafficking. The 30-year-old was reported to have used a dealer network to sell amphetamine, cocaine and GHB. She faces a one-year and nine-month prison term on conviction.
Elizabeth Dizon Honrada, a migrant from the Philippines, was imprisoned for 5 years for trafficking 45 kg of cocaine from Suriname to the Netherlands. Wanted since 2010, Saudi Arabia, where she was found in 2014, was the last reported whereabouts of the 57-year-old.
For a series of robberies in Malta in 2014, Adilet Shakirgazieva, a 31-year-old Kazakh is wanted.
She is alleged to have broken into numerous apartments together with four men and to have stolen cash and jewellery. In September 2015, Shakirgazieva was arrested, appeared in court and was held in custody. Yet she went on the run after she was granted bail on May 2017.
Like Jessica Edosomwan, the 43-year-old Ildiko Enderle is wanted by Romanian police who believe that she is trafficked into the Czech Republic by women, perhaps minors. There, the women were forced into prostitution, who had been promised jobs and accommodation in Germany.