March 23, 2023
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A Ghanaian judge on secondment to a High Court in The Gambia has handed down a fifteen-year sentence to a teacher who was involved in recruiting a 21-year-old student into trafficking.

Justice Alexander Osei Tutu, the presiding judge, sentenced the teacher, Jerome Jatta, after the court found him guilty of the charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and acting as an intermediary in trafficking in person, contrary to section 29 of the Trafficking in Person’s Act at the High Court in Kanifing.

According to the details of the case made available to GhanaWeb, the victim was a student of the incarcerated teacher.

She was also a member of the Christian Studies Society at Fass Basic School, where the accused was her teacher and the co-ordinator of the group. She was also a member of the school’s drama troupe.

The details explained that the victim had been handpicked by her teacher under the pretext of sending her and other students to Ghana for a two to three years further education in relation to their drama troupe.

The teacher explained that, this was a school activity to be able to convince the parents of the victim to agree.

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The teacher is also said to have told the parents of the lady that the students would first go through Senegal to write an exam and then the successful ones will continue their trip to Ghana.

Convinced, the parents of the lady only asked that their daughter is taken good care of.

The teacher then made arrangements for them to leave The Gambia on July 29, 2019, with the supposed other students.

“The driver of the vehicle however sent the young ladies, including the victim, to Mauritania at a camp where many ladies from other countries had been detained and were sexually molested day and night.

“According to the victim, her roommate was one Nancy from Guinea, who had been at the camp for several months. Nancy narrated her ordeal to the victim and warned her not to contemplate fleeing the camp or else she would be killed,” the details said.

The victim then narrated how she was sexually abused, and how sometimes, she would be drugged before the men had sex with her.

According to her, the men came wearing masks and would have sex with them without wearing condoms.

This went on for about five months until she could no longer take it. She then hatched a plan to run away.

On December 22, 2019, just about 5:00pm, the victim said she found a window of opportunity to escape when the men went to pray.

Through the back window, she marshalled all her strength and bolted; she kept running, with the men on her heels, until she entered a forest.

The narration said that the victim said she eventually managed to escape through the forest, having run all night, until she found a village in the morning.

There, she was able to send an SOS message to her mother in The Gambia before she was eventually evacuated by her uncle to Senegal.

A medical examination conducted on her found that she was two and half months pregnant.

The victim has since delivered a baby girl and she told the court that she does not know the father of her daughter. The incident has also truncated her education.

Suspicions of victim’s parents

According to the details available to GhanaWeb, during the period that their daughter was away, they kept getting reassurances from the teacher, Jerome Jatta (the accused), that she was doing very well.

However, after a while when the victim’s mother could no longer contact the teacher, she decided to find out from the principal of her daughter’s school how things were in Ghana.

It was then that the principal informed her that there was no such program from the school and that he was unaware of her daughter’s supposed trip to Ghana.

“This made the victim’s mother apprehensive, so she lodged a formal complaint with the police leading to the arrest and prosecution of the accused.

“After a full trial, the accused was convicted and sentenced to an imprisonment of 15 years and a fine of D100,000 (equivalent to Gh₡20,000) or in default, a further prison term of forty months,” it added.

In his judgement, Justice Alexander Osei Tutu, the trial judge from Ghana, said: “I am convinced that this sentence would serve as enough deterrent to others in the human trafficking business”.

In reacting to this, the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of The Gambia, Hussein Thomas, commended the trial judge for being fair in his judgement.

“We are delighted that we have been able to obtain justice for the victim of this gruesome act… to all traffickers and would be traffickers, this is a warning to you; the long arm of justice will surely get you one day,” he is reported to have said.


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