DCI urges the government of Sierra Leone to enforce laws on trafficking and bring perpetrators to justice

Freetown – 22 May 2018. Defence for Children International urges the Government of Sierra Leone to enforce laws on trafficking and hold accountable all perpetrators responsible for trafficking in Sierra Leone.

On May 18, police officers at the Madamaya check point, close to the Pamalap – Gbamaluya border between Guinea and Sierra Leone, intercepted an alleged child trafficker with two victims ages 5 and 14 years. Whilst police investigation is ongoing, DCI is worried that the alleged trafficker might not be prosecuted. This fear comes from the fact that in March 2017, at this same check-point, police officers arrested a presumed trafficker with six children, and no prosecution was conducted.

DCI is concerned that for the past 3 years, the government of Sierra Leone has not yet convicted any case of trafficking despite numerous reports of such cases. In 2017, the Government of Sierra Leone identified and referred 34 victims of trafficking[1]. Lack of prosecution of these cases does not only put more children at risk but also discourage the police officers who have been identifying and arresting traffickers in the borders. For the past three years, DCI Sierra Leone and counterparts in Guinea and Liberia have been providing training on child trafficking for security officials, community leaders and civil society organisations at the border areas, which have proven to bring positive results.

DCI is therefore calling on the Government of Sierra Leone to give urgent consideration to the following:

  • To expedite investigations and prosecution of current alleged cases of trafficking and punish perpetrators;
  • Review the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2005, criminalise human smuggling, and provide adequate human, technical and financial support to the Anti-Trafficking Taskforce to adequately fulfill its mandates;
  • Strengthen security and immigration procedures at land borders including effective data collection and documentation on inflow and outflow of people across borders;
  • Take concrete and consistent measures, including to undertake comprehensive awareness-raising campaigns on the negative consequences of trafficking on children particularly targeting rural communities;

Additionally, DCI calls on the Government of Sierra Leone to implement the 2016 Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child which urge the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure effective investigation of cases of sale, trafficking and abduction of children and the prosecution and sanctioning of the perpetrators.

————————————————————————–

For further information, please contact DCI – Sierra Leone at info@dcisierraleone.org or by phone at +232 88 818089

[1] United States of America, Department of States, “Trafficking in Person Report, June 2017