Gambian-Lebanese businessman has denied trafficking in person charges brought against him in court.
Mohamed Ali Raif Fneiche, Sulayman Bojang, Momodou Bojang and Alasan Jallow were accused of conspiring to recruit 19 Gambian girls for the purpose of exploitation. Only Momodou Bojang appeared before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh of Banjul. He was granted bail in the sum of D250,000. The case was adjourned indefinitely, with the prosecution applying for bench warrant to be issued against other accused persons.
But the principal accused has denied the story in totality. “I don’t know how this accusation of prostitution came. It’s not true and I am speaking so truth be known,” Mr. Fneiche told Kairo News. “All these girls came through international airport; no one forced them to travel. Also according to government labour and immigration requirement, they have to sign a contract with their employers,” he said.
“This story started since 2012 when I brought one woman [daughter of Momodou Bojang, one of the accused persons] to help my wife here in Lebanon. Since then many of these girls want to work as domestic workers in Lebanon. I have since facilitated the travel of more than 50 girls. The girls asked me to bring them here that’s why I brought them. That’s all I have done,” he said, insisting he had no personal beef with the girls.
Mr. Fneiche said all he knew was that five girls “created their own problems in 2014. They left their wok and visited Gambian consular who advised them to stay and work which is better for them. They wanted to go back but what they fail to understand is that they came here on contract which is binding. The girls also met some Gambian officials who left them here. These disgruntled girls are still working in Lebanon.
“If the story of exploitation or prostitution is true, why are these girls still working in Lebanon. It’s against the law in Lebanon to bring girls here for prostitution. Lebanese law forbids these girls to go out by themselves at night.”
Mr. Fneiche is worried about his image being soiled for wrong reasons. “I have created employment opportunities for these girls. I even met these disgruntled girls more than five times and asked them to stay. I have brought in a lot of girls here whose employment package include full insurance, phone and clothing facilities.
“You can contact the girls themselves or their families in The Gambia. You will then see where the truth lies. Some of the girls who came here have left after their contract expires. They want to come back. You can even talk to the girls who cause their own problems. I am ready to do anything to clear my name. I am a very clean Gambian who has never disobeyed the law. I have my family in The Gambia. Even my name is not spelt out correctly. I don’t know where they get this story.”
This man is lair.
1. Why did you make them sign a binding contract that requires $3000 to get out of their “contracts” and they cannot leave the country without an “exit” visa? Everyone knows your nasty “kalafa” laws on employment. If an employee cannot quit, it’s slavery.
2. How many hours do they have to work for?daily, weekly, monthly?
3. Why is it they have no access to phones after working hours (twice a month, seriously?) and they need employer’s permission?
4. If this is good work, use your sisters right next door from Syria and stop trying to BS the rest of us.
That is complete lie Mohammed Ali. You have been exploiting these young vulnerable Girls for profit and enslaving them in Lebanon. Why seize their passports from them, control their moment and communications with their families. Presently, I have found out my older sister granddaughter is in Lebanon and she is trying to leave the country and come back home but they will not let her leave. We have tried to get in touch with her but no success yet. Who want to go to Lebanon when most Lebanese are running away from their own country? These girls are tricked by you and some greedy Gambian officials for money. All of you should rot in hell. Please let these innocent girls go home to their families now and forget about the useless contract. What contract?
I knew a girl who fell for this scam and she went against my advice. They ended up confiscating her phone and god knows what. Her parents had to pay couple of thousand of dollars for her to come home. I wish i can go to the Gambia and castxxxx this basxxxx.
In a country like the Gambia, the women will become vulnerable to human trafficking as ‘mafiosi’ businesses like this one sometimes involves high profile public personnel.
We are a really sad nation to say the truth again and again.
I have been talking to a sister of mine who is currently on such a contract but she is doing very well, there is no troubles and she has been doing her work and making her calls all over the world with no restrictions.
The issue of seizing passports is not new in contract dispensation abroad even Indian workers in The Gambia have the same reality and it’s all geared to protecting the contractee absconding and involving themselves into activities that can be frowned upon if it comes to the light.
Similarly even the security forces who travel with service passports with the president to a point get their passports under the control of the command whoever is responsible.
Girls who want to indulge themselves into prostitution to make more money and where not able to do so due the restrictions highlighted are the very ones tarnishing the image of the Lebanese Gambian who has helped a lot of the good ones make a better life and that of their families back in The Gambia.
Any girl wishing to travel to any of these Mideastern countries especially Lebanon, should think twice about it. Most of these folks treat domestic workers worse than one would treat a dog. Low pay, rape, forced prostitution, confiscation of travel documents and denial of many basic human rights are the norm rather than exception for domestic servants being imported into these countries with the promise of better pay and better living.
I for one will never encourage any of my beloved sisters to travel to these countries in search of better economic status. The risks far too outweigh the benefits.
This article below expounds on some of the things that I highlighted above.
He is not telling the truth.
The trafficked women are either paid to sugar-coat things or threatened to read from a script. Their travel documents are seized and they have no money to leave. If they speak the truth, they will suffer more. They are not talking about the racism and slavery they are going through. AS ALONG AS THESE WOMEN ARE LIVING IN LIBANON AND THE OTHER STATES with no respect for basic rights, no one should expect them to talk openly. Place them in Gambia and other countries where they can express themselves openly and the story will be different. The enslaved construction works in Dubai or Qatar are also not talking bad in spite of documented evidence of the violation of international labour standards When they go back to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or The Phillipines, then can talk better.
Kairo radio please do your very best to get to the bottom of this problem and expose the real situation these girls are living in. The middle east is notorious for abusing the rights of migrant workers especially African migrants. I bet if our sisters knew their true attitude towards Africans, most of them would have changed their minds in the first place. Lebanese have been abusing our sisters even in the Gambia for a long time. This should stop. Thanks
This Mohammed is definitely NOT saying the truth; there’s no contractual arrangement which can legally kidnap/force anyone into any employment longer than what the employee can accept/tolerate… In fact most labour contractual clauses are rather inclined in the employee’s favour world over, who is the powerless minor/junior for protection, than in the powerful employer’s in the contractual arrangement/agreement….
It’s only the harder economic reality of the day in poor Gambia which is driving all to take to all sorts of risks with lives in attempts to provide for oneself, family & love ones….
The USELESS so-called government of the Gambia, instead of their usual play-acting, has got the means, resources, information, powers & what it takes to rescue those involved in this particular saga by engaging the Lebanese government directly, if they are true to their plight; instead of making empty noises, wasting state resources & valuable time in pretentious kangaroo prosecutions, for political gain purposes ONLY, which EVIL yaya DEVIL jammeh is very good at, instead of sincerity. There’s no better cause than investments into human resources & affairs of a people which is above & surpasses all & any aspects of state.
Nfansu Kujabi keep talking to her that is great but when you don’t know, you don’t know…and that is ignorance.Mr. Kujabi i have travelled wide and to tell you the truth, your sister right now, as i am writing,is being extorted in every way you might think of.
In that part of the world, black Africans are referred to as ‘donkeys’ and that is how they will treat you in real life,though that experience is not amazing to me because a fellow citizen, Yaya Jammeh as president of the Gambia always proves to be even worst in the daily life of the Gambians. A country like the Gambia got many problems Mr.Kujabi, and one of those is the average Gambian youth’s lack of awareness at national and international levels.
Once again Mr. Kujabi, let us please be urged to wake up from our deep sleeping.
This contract is usually given to them after they arrive, when you have no other choice, who will know that i have to pay 3000 dollars for a breach of contract huh. This cartel involved many in the jammehs system.
I went to Lebanon in February 2009 and spent 2 weeks in Beirut. Traveling from Senegal we were with a Senegalese young lady who who returning to Lebanon from I annual leave. I inquired from her the nature of stay and the treatment metted to her by her employer. She her boss was a medical doctor who treated her more or less like a daughter and does not harass her in anyway. Returning back to the Gambia I met a girl from Kombo Lamin who was preparing to go Lebanon on a similar arrangement. When she realized I had visited Lebanon, she sought for my advice. I told her my two weeks experience, that I was there as a professional but. people I had informally met thought I was either from Nigeria, Sudan or Egypt.Sudan or Egypt because those were sources for labour for odd jobs. In the hotel I stayed the house keepers were mainly from Philippines. Lebanon is a very rich Middle Eastern hub and the citizens do not do certain jobs. The Kombo Lamin girl’s motivation was that she knew a girl who was in Lebanon and as a result the girls’s mother’s status changed because of the support the mother was getting from her daughter in Lebanon. Am not justifying or endorsing the taking of our sisters to Lebanon but this is my personal experience. I now live in the West
Pa, you don’t have the slightest idea. It is true that in extreme poverty people will be without oppurtunities and will likely do everything just for a living.
Two weeks in Lebanon is not telling you anything about black people in lebanon. I said they are practically treated like donkeys and so they are called,’HIMAR’ and thats not only in Lebanon in that part of the world.
I am not sleeping in any form. You guys are always on the negative page. The problems relating discrimination is worst in the so called civilized world than anywhere. Even in The Gambia where you may barely not pick a job you are continuously being discriminated and can’t even comment. Yes this incident is perpetrated by a dual citizen and in foreign land you guys have the guts to talk.
Yaya Jammeh is enslaving every body in that country who dares talk there. Yaya Jammeh is holding hostage of dead bodies, kids, parents and relatives of failed coupist can’t you guys denounce it. The courts free people but Yaya Jammeh uses his demonic powers to re-arrest them without reason you are voiceless about it now you can open your mouth to denounce someone who is creating job opportunities to an apparent jobless society.
Compare and contrast. Africans are being enslaved more in their own countries than abroad. Because in abroad Governments protect you, but in The Gambia Government enslaves you.
Brother Nfansu Kujabi, I for my part made it clear that negative experience in the diaspora is not at all amazing to my experiences looking back at the situation at home. Whatever motivated your doubt if something is being done by your fellow citizens with regards to the horrible state of affairs at home, I think Gambia is within the international community, whose competent institutions are doing their job right now.Kairo news, my brother,is not just a chatting site I hope though I am yet to know any individual there in person. You probably need to be informed in that aspect, rather than just your sister’s Lebanon issue.
Brother Nfansu Lebanon has it problems too because you cannot call it a peaceful country in many parts of it but, one thing good about them is they will not enslave each other or indignify each other in their political regions or communities and these experiences are real life. Their christian communities are educated and moderate.So therefore, the awareness most of us lack as Gambians and Africans in general including Yaya Jammeh is, we lack the ability to to locate in the right side of our minds and hearts thus, being indignified abroad and the worst of all at home.
It is an important issue and all responsible citizens of all countries in Africa including the Gambia, must be aware of it; we lack the respect in foreign countries because even if these are lawful countries, some will play a double standard within their laws when it comes to treating Africans, much more sub-saharans or in other words black people. The simple reason behind this is, most foreign countries’ policies in practice will yet, treat us with the equal hospitality we enjoyed from our political leaderships in our various home countries, because they are informed by the ‘Africa horror media showcase’. Thanks to the U.S, the U.K, Canada, Scandanavia, Germany, and Holland for the undisputable presence of human rights in those countries, the Gambia is not alone in this struggle. Mr. Nfansu your sister’s well being or her friend’s is not near the general truth. However dignity is one thing; and money is another thing, a necessity that should be acquired because there ain’t no golden spoon Nfansu… Let your sister be blessed with more money to send to you.
It is good that this report(s) has/have tried to provide both sides of this story, which has provided a near balanced picture of this controversial issue…Personally, I think people must exercise caution in what they say/write because a man’s name and reputation may be at stake…
I can see that many are forming their views based on generalisations and stereo typing, which may be unhelpful towards understanding this issue and forming an impartial view point…
It is clear that different girls have different experiences in Lebanon and so the problem that those girls (who ran away) faced cannot be viewed as a true reflection of the reality for everyone else..
In fact, according to another report on this same issue, a girl in Banjul has said good things about the experience of her friends in Lebanon….So the question of “intimidation” and “reading from a script” may not arise in her case..Unless we believe that she is still under duress even in Banjul…
On the balance of the evidence before us, I will say that Mr Ali’s name and image has been unfairly tarnished…
I do not absolve Mr Ali of all blame because I believe, as an agent of this recruitment agency or whatever it may be called, he has a duty, not only to provide these girls with all the information they need about this job, but to make sure that they fully understand what it entails…
And I don’t think.that has happened in the case of the girls that “ran away”..Unless those girls saw Lebanon as a.stepping stone for more greener pastures…
The government also has a duty to protect citizens who may wish to undertake such jobs by requiring these recruitment agents/agencies to register with a government department (if that’s not the case) and subject them to regular/periodic scrutiny….
Such a department should have an open line of communication with girls (& others) so that they can inform the officials of any cases of abuse or maltreatment, which can then be addressed without much delay, through the embassy or consulate, as it may be..
Individuals who wish to undertake such job expeditions also have a duty and responsibility to find out all about the job and its related contract conditions…One should not sign a contract document that you have not properly understood, especially when it binds you to an employer in a foreign country, with a different culture, religion, system, etc….If you do, and you end.up in the clutches of an unscrupulous employer, then you have yourself to blame first, before blaming anyone else…
People must not give the impression that the problem of unscrupulous employers is unique to the Middle East alone…This is a global problem and it needs awareness and concerted efforts to combat…It knows no racial, ethnic, religious, regional or tribal barriers…Even in the heart of cities like London could be found people “captured/trapped” and forced to work and live in slave like conditions, being over worked, exploited and abused….and the culprits from all sorts of backgrounds…
The Gambia Government, in particular and all interested or concerned groups, must sensitise and educate our young people about the realities of “babylon” and the dangers lurking in.the various “concrete jungles” of the world…
We must also collectively strive.to build a country that can adequately cater for our needs, so that our young people are not forced into such perilous situations…
I for one would not be in for any motion that our sisters be obtaining work contracts to travel to the middle east, especially Lebanon. If a businessman or any public figure or government deems his reputation being staked by a confused public, it is therefore a due obligation on to those private or puplic individuals not to snub but defend themselves with more and more proves and evidence, transparently in public space. All the homies’ write ups here are not intended to tarnish or stake anyone’s reputation in my opinion, but indeed demonstrates their concern and will to protect their sisters’ pride. My questions are; Are boys given the equal oppurtunity in obtaining those work contracts?, if not….then why girls?, Lebanon got more construction work than domestic!!
Bax, I wish we travel to the middles east with academic qualifications whereby we’ll be respected and treated with special care, and I’m telling this to you from evident experience. One like Bukhari Sillah, the ex-UTG lecturer is one good example of this and so one like him should be the whole West Africa’s pride if not all Africa.
It is true that the U.K and even London is no exemption from organised crimes such as human trafficking and enforced labour but, I guess the public TVs in London, the Scotland Yard and prominent public personnel are no phenomenal part players of such crimes. Bax you know it…the U.K can strip you off the diplomatic immunity and raid your embassy if the situation arise. You fail to understand one thing and that is; Any democracy, rule of law and human rights you want to restore in the Gambia, advanced than that of the U.K as of now, will be far fetched.
Bax you can call my remark racist…. ‘applied racism’ sells in most of those countries like hot cake, but that is just going to provoke arguements if we have ethnicity as a problem in the world of Africa. I love the U.K and that is not because my name is Bourne but because there, I can demonstrate, face to face with my head of state, my lack of support for his dictarship without fear.
Bax I doubt if you have a wider experience of the E.U. Most countries in the E.U are not like the U.K, Germany, Holland and the Scandanavia, most countries in the E.U are just a little better than the middle east countries when it comes to issues as such.
However, we have an issue that is central to all these facts and that is restoring democracy in the Gambia which cannot be restored without the plight of its people.
hello everybody here thank for the both opinions and am ready to answer any question from you all and i wish we can have civilized chat without any bad words..
ya ayuha ala zeena amanu in jaakom fasikon bnabeen fatabayano an tosibo kawman bejahala fa tosbeho ala ma faaltom nadimin.. sadaka allahu al azim