February 12, 2020
By Regina Pratt
Fatmata Kamara and Kadiatu Kargbo 1st and 2nd accused persons, who pleaded guilty last Friday February 6, to 30 count charges ranging from trafficking in persons, obtaining money by false pretences to money laundering offences, were slammed 20 years and 8 years imprisonment respectively.
Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay sentenced the two women and informed them that they were given the minimum sentencing because they did not waste the courts’ time.
The court was jam-packed with human rights activists, officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and others, who witnessed the trial that recorded the first conviction for human trafficking in Sierra Leone.
State Prosecutor, Lawyer Adrian Fisher, made an application citing section 23 (1-2) of the Human Trafficking Act 2005, for restitution and compensation to the victims and settlement of cost for medical and psychological treatment.
He said the convicts engaged in a sustained criminality and that when caught by the police they attempted to conceal the crime, which involved the transfer of the victims from Sierra Leone via Liberia to Ivory coast, Ghana and enroute to Oman, where they would have been subjected to sexual exploitation, slavery and force labour on the pretext that they would be paid well.
“The victims were specifically targeted that those in the trafficking would get their desires. This is to serve as a deterrent to others as trafficking has become a menace in the country and the untold suffering of victims must stop,” he said.
The accused persons were apprehended by Immigration and Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU) at the Jendema border crossing point, attempting to traffic nine young Sierra Leonean women to Liberia and onwards to Oman, Iraq and other European countries, for the purposes of exploitation.
“We are doing little or nothing about human trafficking. We have about 10 cases on human trafficking for trial and these young girls would have been taken to Oman and you the accused persons would have exploited these girls for your personal benefits,” said Justice Sesay.
“Had it not been the intervention of the police, the victims would have been in one of the Arab countries under exploitation.”