Liberia: Man Jailed for Human Trafficking – Duped Several Sierra Leoneans Under Pretense of Traveling to Canada, Each Paid U.S.$1,000

Monrovia — The Justice Ministry has forwarded the 35-year-old defendant Yacouba Sayadogo to court for allegedly duping several Sierra Leoneans under the pretense of providing them travel to Canada, each paid US$1,000.00. The incident occurred on August 16, 2023.

On August 15, 2023, defendant Sawadogo was arrested at his construction site, investigated, and charged along with his accomplices Faday Kabia and Ibrahim S. Bangura for the crimes of Trafficking in Persons and Criminal Conspiracy.

Defendant Sawadogo and his two accomplices, Faday Kabia and Ibrahim S. Bangura, are accused of defrauding 11 individuals, including Amin You’re, Fatumata Saysay, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Hassan A. Kargbo, Abass F. Kanu, Cecelia Kargbo, Today Osman Bangura, Bangura O. Aliue, Aminata Conteh, Abdul Osumane Bangura, and Hassan Sesay from Sierra Leone, under the pretense of providing them with an opportunity to travel to Canada.

“They were promised the chance to work and earn money to improve their lives, and were asked to pay US$1000.00 each at their Kebbah Q-net office in Bardnesville. However, they were held in isolation under the control of the Q-net office and were not able to travel to Canada. Instead, they were directed to participate in a business plan, with instructions to recruit two additional persons each to start earning. They have been denied a refund of their money,” said the complaint.

During the investigation, complainant Amin Toure stated that in September 2022, he received a call from his brother-in-law Foday, informing him about a travel program to Canada facilitated by Foday Kamara. Toure was asked to come to Liberia to initiate the process. Upon arrival in Monrovia, he met with Faday Kabia, who immediately took him to their office, Blue Diamond 006 Q-net, located in Kebbah, Barnerville. He was then introduced to defendant Sawadogo, and the next day he paid US$1000.00 for his travel process to Canada.

Fatumata Saysay’s statement indicated that in May 2023, she received a call from Bangura in Sierra Leone, informing her about a similar process. Upon her arrival in Liberia, Ibrahim met her and took her to the Q-net office, introducing her to defendant Sawadogo, who was responsible for processing her travel documents. She handed over US$1000.00 to defendant Sawadogo for the process.

Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, in his statement, recounted that on January 5, 2023, while in Sierra Leone, Ibrahim S. Bangura informed him about the travel program to Canada. He was instructed to travel to Liberia, where the process was initiated. After submitting his documents and paying US$1000.00, defendant Yacouba instructed him to stay in Liberia for three months. However, when he inquired about his travel later, defendant Sawadogo informed him that he would not be traveling.

Defendant Sawadogo has been charged with violating Section 2A, B, and 10.4 of the new Trafficking in Persons Act and the Penal Law of Liberia.

The complainants, including Hassan A. Kargbo, Abass F. Kanu, Cecelia Kargbo, Foday Osman Bangura, Bangura O. Aliue, Aminata Conteh, Abdul Osumane Bangura, and Hassan Sesay, all share similar experiences with defendant Sawadogo.

Upon being informed of his Miranda rights, defendant Yacouba Sawadogo chose to remain silent and declined to speak to investigators regarding the allegations from the complainants.

Given the charges against defendant Sawadogo, Magistrate Ben Barco advised him to take advantage of the law. Sawadogo was subsequently sent to the Monrovia Central Prison to await his court trial.

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