The Liberia National Police (LNP) has arrested, charged and sent to court a 29-years old Sierra Leonean, Mohammed Jalloh Massaquoi, for allegedly attempting to sell his son, aged 10.
Speaking to investigators of the LNP and the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia in the new established Trafficking In-Persons Unit at the headquarters of the LNP, Massaquoi said he came to Liberia along with his son to have him sold to enable him to pay for a motorbike belonging to a friend. The bike was stolen from him.
Massaquoi, who put the cost of the motorbike at 11 Million Leones, said he has paid 1 million Leones, with the balance of 10 million Leones to be paid. He said that he was informed by some friends in his home country, Sierra Leone, that in Liberia there are people looking for human beings to buy.
He maintained that, upon hearing that, he immediately embarked on a travel to Liberia to sell the little boy to generate the balance 10 million Leones to enable him to pay for the motorcycle.
Massaquoi added that, upon his arrival in Liberia with his son on December 16, 2021, they went to a relative at Cotton Tree, Margibi County, where he met a certain Momo Kamara, who promised to help him find a buyer for his son.
He said that Momo Kamara advised him not to refer to the boy as human being, but rather as chicken. When Kamara asked him about the cost of his son, Massaquoi said that he is not familiar with the Liberian dollar to United States dollar exchange rate, and therefore he could not price the boy. He said that he asked Kamara to spearhead the negotiation, one that would be profitable for the both of them.
Massaquoi was arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on Thursday, December 30, 2021 as he and Momo Kamara awaited the buyer at a drinking spot in Cotton Tree.
Also speaking, the head of the TIP Unit of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Chief Inspector of Police, Joseph B. Washington, said that Massaquoi was arrested through the network of the LNP in Margibi County.
The child is said be currently in the care of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
It can be recalled that Labor Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, recently emphasized the urgent need for countries in the Mano River Union (MRU) sub-region to consolidate their effort and be more proactive in the fight against human trafficking, which he has described as a global menace.
Minister Gibson was speaking when he met and held bilateral talks with top-level Sierra Leonean government officials in Freetown.
Cllr. Gibson assured his counterparts that President George Weah attaches urgency to stopping human trafficking, and that the President is interested in a collaboration that will see MRU countries working together to clampdown on all forms of trans-national crimes, with emphasis on human trafficking.
Credit: West Coast TV-Liberia