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Reading: Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Vows to End Human Trafficking and Sexual Crimes
Reading: Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Vows to End Human Trafficking and Sexual Crimes

Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Vows to End Human Trafficking and Sexual Crimes

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 5 Min Read
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Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Vows to End Human Trafficking and Sexual Crimes
Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio Vows to End Human Trafficking and Sexual Crimes

Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio has vowed to contribute to the fight against human trafficking and other sexual-related crimes in the country, noting that perpetrators will be brought to book

In her statement a few days ago, the first lady noted that human trafficking is a crime and together a stop can be put to it in the country.

“Human trafficking is a sinister crime, the majority of our victims are women and children who suffered brutal violence, forced labour, horrific sexual exploitation and other abuses in the hands of traffickers,” she maintained.

Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Bio also noted that a child who is engaged in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking under the anti-human trafficking and migrant smuggling act of 2022.

In August, this year, Madam Melrose Karminty, the Minister of Social Welfare, spearheads the launch of Sierra Leone’s National Strategy to End Human Trafficking.

The Minister, During her keynote speech at the United Nations Network on Migration’s “Working Better Together” program addresses the critical issue of human trafficking. She underlined the importance of collective action to combat human trafficking in all its forms.

The Minister underlined the gravity of the crime and the need to leave no victim behind, ensuring that victims receive comprehensive and tailored support. She highlighted the importance of the National Referral Mechanism, which provides a pathway for victims to access quality protection services, including temporary shelter, rehabilitation, reintegration, and economic empowerment.

Dehunge Shiaka, The Executive Director of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Agency, commended the partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare, noting that the collaboration aimed to implement the Anti-Human Trafficking and Migration Smuggling Act No. 12 of 2022. He said “This significant step involved strengthening the Anti Trafficking in Person Task Force secretariat for effective coordination, monitoring, and supervision of state and non-state actors working towards combating trafficking.”

Human trafficking is a serious issue in Sierra Leone. According to the United States Department of State, Sierra Leone is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children

According to a recent report by the University of Liverpool and the University of Georgia, an estimated 33% of children aged 5 to 17 in Sierra Leone’s Eastern Province have experienced child trafficking, and 36% have experienced child labor. The report represents the largest-scale household survey on the topic ever undertaken in Sierra Leone . The report specifically describes child trafficking and child labor in three hotspot districts in the Eastern Province—Kono, Kenema, and Kailahun—that are among the poorest areas in what is considered one of the world’s poorest countries .

The United States Department of State reports that Sierra Leone is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Trafficking within the country is more prevalent than transnational trafficking and the majority of victims are children. Within the country, women and children are trafficked from rural provinces to towns and mining areas for domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, and forced labor in diamond mines, petty trading, petty crime, and for forced begging. Women and children may also be trafficked for forced labor in agriculture and the fishing industry. Transnationally, Sierra Leonean women and children are trafficked to other West African countries, notably Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia for the same purposes listed above and to North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Europe for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation.

The government of Sierra Leone has made efforts to combat human trafficking, including increasing investigations and prosecutions, allocating funding to an NGO for protective services, and adopting a new anti-trafficking national action plan. However, the government still needs to expand victim shelter and services, including for male victims, outside of Freetown, and train officials on the standard victim identification measures and national referral mechanism to ensure trafficking victims receive timely services.

 

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Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean communication strategist, fixer, blogger, youth organiser, event manager, spokesperson, and public relations expert. His work has been regularly referenced and published by national and international media and public policy institutions. Sallu Kamuskay was a child during the brutal war in Sierra Leone. Growing up in the midst of conflict, Sallu witnessed unimaginable abuse of children and gross violations of human rights. The horrors he witnessed during the Civil War had a terrible impact on him at a very tender age. But despite the shock of the war, Sallu never lost hope. He started on a journey of recovery, studying, and working for a better future. At age 15, Sallu entered into the world of activism and advocacy. Sallu Kamuskay was the Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, a member of the National Youth Council. The Young Leaders is one of the oldest youth-led organisations in West Africa. The organisation was formed by a group of young leaders, and launched by the then Head of State/President of Sierra Leone. Sallu was part of the group of young leaders who participated in and contributed to the establishment of the National Youth Council. The Commonwealth supported the training for trainers programme with line ministries and youth stakeholders in which key, representatives of youth council, student union and civil society/private sector youth platforms were engaged and empowered in the effective engagement and inclusion of youth. Sallu is co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global multimedia and public relations firm based In Sierra Leone. Sallu has worked on various developmental and policy issues such as Poverty, Climate Change, Human rights, Child Rights, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Civic Engagement, Government policies, Information Communication Technology for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has also been contributing to various global events and advocacy campaigns. Sallu Kamuskay is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global Multimedia and Public Relations Firm based in Sierra Leone with the latest news and information, on top stories, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Sallu is working with a leading technology company in Africa, Techfrica, that has recently developed and launched a social media, messaging Supfrica with over 150,000 downloads on the Google play store in less than 4 days. He is the Adviser and Media coordinator for the App to give people the platform to connect and communicate to help shape their future with a very fast internet that allows users that live in deprived and hard-to-reach areas with poor internet facility to be able to communicate as it allows and stronger on 2 and 3 G network reception. Sallu has over 9 years of experience in youth engagement, inclusion, and coordination both at local and global levels, giving voice to young people and engaging young people to build a better world. He has served as coordinator for the Wave Alliance which brought together youth-led organisations who attended an international training in South Africa organized by the International Organization – Waves for Change. Sallu is working with the MLT, Waves For Change, and the Government to develop safe spaces for young people, with a view to contributing to the overall development goals of young people including health, as well as to community rebuilding. Sallu is currently the Programme Director for the Wave Alliance, which is a coalition of youth-led and community-based organisations that have successfully introduced evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to young people in communities, with a focus on mental health, peace building and sustainable development. Sallu is currently the focal point and face of Africa’s Faces Social media platform which is a global Social media platform that brings together people from across the world to share their moments, connect, share videos, and interact with friends giving more preference to excluded continents like Africa. Sallu Kamuskay has devoted his time to working for or contributing to a number of national and international organizations and companies, including the Techfrica Technology Company, United Nations, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Africa Initiatives. This work has led him to travel to a number of countries to contribute to global youth platforms. Sallu is the lead Coordinator for Peace Tour programme, an initiative supported by the European Union, Africa Union, ECOWAS focusing on uniting and empowering young people and local communities. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.