The Liberia National Police (LNP) have arrested, charged, and sent to court a 29-year-old Sierra Leonean national, Mohammed Jalloh Massaquoi, for allegedly attempting to sell his son, age 10.
Massaquoi while speaking to the LNP and the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia said he came to Liberia along with his son as a means of raising funds to pay off his Le 11 million debt.
The money, Massaquoi said is intended to pay for a motorbike belonging to a friend that got stolen from him.
He added although he has managed to pay Le 1 million, things have not been easy and was informed by some friends in his home Country that in Liberia people were looking for human beings to buy.
He maintained that upon hearing that, he immediately embarked on travel to Liberia to sell the little boy to generate the balance of 10 million Leones to pay for the motorbike.
Massaquoi added that upon his arrival in Liberia with his son on December 16, 2021, they went to a relative in Cotton-Tree, Margibi County, where he met one Mr. 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 a human being, but rather as a chicken.
When asked as to what is the cost of the child by Kamara he said that he is not familiar with the Liberian Dollars to United States Dollars exchange rate and therefore he could not price the boy.
He added that he asked Kamara to spearhead the negotiation that will be profitable to both of them.
Mr. Massaquoi was arrested by LNP officers on Thursday, December 30, 2021, when he and Momo Kamara were awaiting the buyer at a drinking spot in Cotton Tree.
Also speaking, the head of the police TIP Unit, Inspector Joseph B. Washington, said that Mr. Massaquoi was arrested through the network of the LNP in Margibi County.
The child is said to be currently in the care of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, in a recent statement, stressed the urgency for Countries in the Mano River Union (MRU) to consolidate efforts 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 last year.
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 clamp down on all forms of trans-national crimes, with emphasis on human trafficking.