4 October 2017

Sierra Leone: Human Trafficking - Victim Explains Ordeal

A human trafficking victim has been explaining her ordeal this week as she gives evidence in the Freetown Magistrates' Court No.1.

Kadiatu Kargbo, a nurse from Port Loko, yesterday explained to Magistrate Albert Moody how she was ill-treated while serving as housemaid in Kuwait.

She told the court that while visiting her uncle, Pa Musa Bangura, in Waterloo on 5 January, 2017 she was introduced to one Ibrahim Sesay as a businessman who facilitates the travel of people to Australia.

She said the accused (Ibrahim Sesay) demanded that she pays the sum of Le8 million to facilitate her travel to Australia, plus Le1.3 million for her passport.

"I gave the accused another Le2.5 million when we arrived in Conakry, Guinea, to facilitate my travel to Australia. Upon our arrival at the Guinea Airport, the accused handed over my documents before I checked-in and boarded Air Ethiopia to Addis Ababa and later boarded another flight to Kuwait," she told the court.

Kadiatu narrated that she arrived in Kuwait on 12 February, 2017 with the belief that her destination was Australia and that they were only transiting in the gulf Arab state.

"When I arrived in Kuwait, I asked an Ethiopian lady who told me that there was no transit Airport in Kuwait to Australia. I denied her because I was sure of heading to Australia. Later, another Ethiopian lady called Sada took me to their office and assigned me to a household to work as a maid. I argued with her bitterly about my stay in Kuwait. I told her that I was a nurse and I was heading to Australia to work as a nurse," she said.

According to her, she had agreed with the accused person to emigrate to Australia and work as a nurse for a monthly salary of US$300, an office car and other facilities.

Kadiatu continued that she worked as a maid for over two weeks, adding that when her madam went for shopping one day, leaving her with the children, one of the male sons asked her for sex.

"While I was cleaning the room, my madam's son went to the room and asked me to have sex. We fought for a while. He ripped off my clothes and breast wear and hit me with a stick but he was unable to have an affair with me. When I reported the matter to my madam, I was asked out of the house and taken to Sada who introduced me to her. I was later assigned to another household, where I stayed and worked for over a month without pay," she stated.

She further explained that she was linked to one Bull - President of the Union of Sierra Leoneans in Kuwait, who helped her escape.

"Bull took me to the Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait and I was later transferred to a camp called Shelter, where the International Office for Migration facilitated my return to Sierra Leone. I arrived on 8 September, 2017 and reported the matter to the office of Transnational Organised Crime Unit at Hastings," she added.

The accused, Ibrahim Sesay, is standing trial on nine related counts of recruiting, transferring and transporting by means of deception, contrary to section 2(2) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2005.

According to police file, the accused on unknown dates, recruited Kadiatu Kargbo and Isatu Musa Bangura by means of deception for the purpose of exploitation in the Republic of Kuwait.

The matter is being prosecuted by Inspector Hawa Bah.

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