The incidences of rural urban child trafficking are alarming, even though there are no adequate data as to the occurrence of trafficking in persons in Sierra Leone.
Yet hundreds of children from provincial areas could be seen roaming the streets of the capital fending for either their guardians or relations who have brought them to Freetown under the pretext of better living and opportunities.
The girl narrated her ordeal: “My aunty brought me to Freetown from Port Loko for the Christmas holiday. She promised to send me to school no sooner the holiday was over. But this she never did”.
The little girl, who can not even articulate the local lingua franca well, went on, “Instead she gave me boiled eggs to sell and if I failed to sell them or unable to account for the loss, she would flog me mercilessly.”
She said sorrowfully, “My mother sent for me… she sent my elder brother with a letter for me to go back home, but my aunty refused. Instead she remarked that if my mother wanted me back she should come and collect me”.
In tears the little girl said, “Since then my mother has never sent for me again.”
Asked about the whereabouts of his elder brother, the little girl held her breath for sometime before responding: “My brother is in Freetown attending a primary school but I don’t know where he stays…”
This is just one of the thousands of children who are trafficked within the country and forced to labour in urban areas, in minefields and costal areas.
Some schools of thought have argued that the recently enacted Child-Trafficking Bill would not do much, as trafficking is a hidden peril in which victims are afraid to prosecute their tormentors.