Two human traffickers were on Monday convicted and asked to pay one hundred thousand dalasis each, in default to serve 15 years imprisonment. The judgment came after they pleaded guilty to the charge.
The case was presided over by Chief Magistrate Omar Cham of the Banjul Magistrate’s Court. The accused persons were convicted on the charge of attempted human trafficking contrary to the Trafficking in Persons Act.
The two convicts are Ousainou Joof (Senegalese) and Samsideen Colley (Gambian). Two other accomplices Ebrima Manneh and Baye Lad Gaye are still at large.
According to the particulars of the offence, sometime in November 2021 at Gunjur and diverse places, the convicts jointly mobilised and received various sums of money from individuals for the purpose of facilitating their travel through a vessel to the Canary Islands, Spain which act is detrimental to their lives.
Joof and Colley both pleaded guilty to the charge. According to the Act, a Trafficker is one engaged in trafficking.
Section 28 of the Trafficking in Persons Act prohibits trafficking and makes it an offence. Trafficking in persons, as defined in the Act, means the recruitment of, provision of, transportation of, transfer of, harbouring of, receipt of, or trading in, person.
Section 28 sub-section 4 of the Act provides for the punishment for human trafficking offences. It states that a person who commits human trafficking offence is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than fifty thousand dalasis and not exceeding five hundred thousand dalasis in addition to imprisonment for a minimum term of fifteen years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
The Prosecuting officer, Chief Superintendent Malang Jarju leading the evidence after they both pleaded guilty said the two were arrested at Barra while they were preparing for the journey. He added that they were taken to the Tanji Immigration Post for interrogation. He informed the court that a search was conducted and some items were found in their possession. He said among the items confiscated were four (4) barrels of engine oil, a Yamaha machine, a boat, sugar, milk powder, and five packets of biscuits.
Superintendent Jarju said when they were cautioned, they both admitted that they were about to embark on the perilous journey to Spain.
When asked whether the narration of the police superintendent was true, the two both informed the court that the facts as narrated by the prosecutor were accurate.
The photos of the items were tendered and marked as exhibits.
In his judgment, Chief Magistrate Cham fined the two human traffickers fifty thousand (D50,000) each. Pursuant to section 29 of the Criminal Code, Cham exercised his discretion to fine each of the accused persons D50,000 in default to serve the mandatory jail term of 15 years.
He also ordered for the items confiscated to be handed to the Funds for Victims of Trafficking.