Lawyer Dumps Human Traffickers
The trial of the three sisters who allegedly recruited young girls, mostly porters (kayayei) from some part of the country and transported them to Nigeria for sexual exploitation, was yesterday abruptly adjourned following their lawyer’s decision to withdraw his services. Prosecution was expected to begin its case as scheduled but when the case was called, the accused person’s lawyer, Nii Amartey, informed the court that he was traveling and therefore had withdrawn his services. The trial judge, Mrs. Georgina Mensah Datsa, had no option but to adjourn the case to January 31 for the accused persons to engage the services of a new lawyer. At the last adjourned date, the charge sheet was substituted by ASP Mary Agbozo, the prosecutor, with more simplified locations of where the victims were picked up from. The victims were reportedly recruited from Makola, Ashaiman, Agbogbloshie and Gushiegu by the three sisters under the pretext of securing jobs for them in Nigeria. The new sheet also dropped a charge of procuration against Zinabu Abukari, one of the accused, and replaced it with human trafficking. The case has been adjourned to January 24, 2011 for hearing. The three sisters, Fati Abukari, Memuna Abukari and Zinabu Abukari, according to police investigations, have been practicing the illegal trade for the past ten years. Fati, the ringleader, was charged with seven counts of human trafficking. Memuna had two counts of human trafficking while Zinabu faced two counts of human trafficking. They all had an additional charge of conspiracy to commit crime but pleaded not guilty. Currently, ten victims have been rescued and are in a shelter. All accused persons were granted a GH¢10,000 bail with two sureties after ASP Mary Agbozo did not object to bail because investigations had been completed. The prosecutor revealed that the complainant was a staff of Regional Advocacy Information and Network System (RAINS), an NGO based in Tamale, whilst the accused persons were traders based in Ghana and Nigeria respectively. She said on December 28, 2010, a victim confided in the complainant that about four years ago, she and other girls were recruited from Agbogbloshie and Gushiegu by the accused persons and transported to Lagos in Nigeria, under the pretext of securing them jobs. The victim, according to the prosecutor, said upon arrival, they were made to sell porridge during the day and go into prostitution during the night. However, the accused persons collected all the proceeds and never paid them for their services. The prosecutor said one of the victims was made to abandon her marriage in Nantong for the purpose of practicing prostitution and another made to undergo a series of illegal abortion. The complainant then reported the matter to the police and the accused persons were arrested. ASP Agbozo said the accused vehemently denied the offence during interrogation but admitted to having transported some girls to Nigeria.