Sierra Leonean Embassy invited in trafficking probe
The former head of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Anti Human Trafficking Division Sup. Anthony S. Tugbeh says investigators went beyond the borders to contact the Sierra Leonean Embassy here to ensure that trafficking suspect Hawa Bangura was represented by all means.
Prosecutors have accused Sierra Leonean national defendant Hawa Bangura of attempting to sell two trafficked Sierra Leoneans in Liberia-Famata Kanu and her 4-year old daughter Kadiatu Kromah for US$3,500.00 when the buyers had security planted to thwart the deal unknown to the suspect.
Testifying Wednesday, 9 January, the Liberian police investigator Tugbeh told the Criminal Court “A” that Sierra Leonean Embassy officials sent in representatives during the investigation following Liberian public defenders’ failure to come forth.
Sup. Tugbeh explains that defendant Hawa Bangura “had a mind set to exploit the survivors had the opportunity gone as discussed.”But he says Hawa told investigators in one of her statements that she had no knowledge about the alleged crime of trafficking Famata and Kadiatu Kromah.
In a separate statement on December 6, 2017 in the presence of Sierra Leonean diplomats, Sup. Tugbeh narrates that Hawa told investigators that without the knowledge of the survivors’ family, she brought Famata from Freetown, Sierra Leone to Liberia for the purpose of buying used clothes.
During the probe, he says investigators discovered that Famata and Kadiatu were deceived on grounds that they were coming to Liberia to purchase used clothes.
He says suspect Bangura made contact with Lahai [Kamara] to solicit buyer for both survivors Famata and Kadiatu.Sup. Tugbeh narrates that the investigation discovered that the survivors were harbored in a place of poor sanitary condition.
He concludes that the investigation established that the sum of 3,000 USD was discussed as the price for the sale of the survivors.
Liberia’s 2005 Act to Ban Trafficking In Persons sees the transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by means of the threat …, giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation as trafficking in person.
The law mandates a sentence of a minimum of one year imprisonment if the convicted person used, threatened use, or caused another to use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon.It says two years shall be added to the minimum sentence. Additionally, it says if the trafficked person has not attained the age of 18 years, 5 years shall be added to the minimum sentence.
By Winston W. Parley