On 11 February 2020, a High Court Judge in Freetown has convicted Fatmata Kamara and Kadijatu Kargbo after pleading guilty to 30 count charges ranging from trafficking-in-persons (TIP) and money laundering. They were sentenced to 20 and 8 years imprisonment respectively.
According to the court documents and evidence presented in court, the accused persons were apprehended by border security and Immigration and Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) in January 2020, at the Jendema crossing point, while attempting to trafficking nine young Sierra Leonean women to Liberia and onwards to Oman, Iraq, and other European countries, for their exploitation.
While reading his judgment, Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay said: “Human trafficking is a disgraceful, and unaccepted crime in Sierra Leone and the accused in this case took advantage of overseas work to exploit their victims. He informed them that they were given the minimum sentence because they did not waste the court’s time.
The state Prosecutor, Lawyer Andrian Fisher, while making an application submitted that both the accused conspired to commit and engage in an act of human-trafficking contrary to Section 18 and 2 of the Human Trafficking Act of 2005 respectively. He also claimed that the accused obtained money by false pretences contrary to section 32(1) of the Larceny Act of 1916 and Money Laundry contrary to section 15(1)(c) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing of Terrorism Act of 2012.
“We have 10 substantive cases of human trafficking and these young girls would have been taken to Oman and other countries and suffer while the traffickers would have been benefited financially. This judgment is a deterrent to others and will continue to investigate and vigorously prosecute human traffickers in order to bring justice to victims –” State Prosecutor, Lawyer Andrian Fisher.
Over the past four years, Defence for Children International Sierra Leone has been providing training on child and human trafficking to security officials, local leaders, civil society organizations and Immigration and Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) in the border areas between Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the risk of child trafficking is the greatest. Recently, the authorities of Sierra Leone and Liberia a standard operating procedure to combat human and child trafficking at the Gendehma – Bo-Waterside border region between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The landmark convention of Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay against the 1st accused, Fatmata Kamara, and 2nd accused, Kadijatu Kargbo, on 30 count charges to 20 and 8 years imprisonment respectively for trafficking-in-persons (TIP) and money laundering which happened exactly two weeks after DCI’s held cross border human and child trafficking training in January at the Gendehma – Bo-Waterside is one of the results of the work of the Africa Regional Program within the Girls Advocacy Alliance and according to Abdul Manaff Kemokai, the President of Defence for Children International and Executive Director, DCI – Sierra Leone, “this judgment brings hope and justice for the victims because exploitation is not only degrading and inhuman but it is also an insult and a violation to fundament human rights and basic freedoms for victims.”