Justice for Two Boys Trafficked into Domestic and Commercial Servitude in Liberia

This piece explores the disturbing experience of two children in Liberia who were trafficked into domestic and commercial servitude. With the support of staff from the Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity (where Fellow John Kamma is Founding CEO) and local community residents, the two children were rescued, supported and reunited with their families. The following article exemplifies the work done by Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity and our mission of supporting justice and dispute resolution. To learn more about the work of the organization, visit our Facebook page.

How Two Boys Were Trafficked in Liberia

In a telephone conversation with her business acquaintance, Madam Tete Dole, Cynthia Wilson (a purported businesswomen) requested the help of two boys who she wanted to live with her to carry out domestic work. In exchange, she would take responsibility of their care, including their schooling. Acting upon the conversation, Madam Teta Dole went to Bong County (a region in the North-East of Liberia, a few hours from the capital Monrovia) and with deceit convinced the biological parents to allow the children to leave with her, promising them that the children would have better living conditions, including schooling, and they would be under her watchful eyes in Monrovia. She did not inform the parents that she was acting on behalf of Cynthia Wilson, who would be using the children for domestic and commercial purposes. Madam Tete Dole delivered the children to Cynthia Wilson in January 2022. From that day, the children were living with Madam Wilson without going to school, and instead had their time dedicated to selling and domestic work.

Community Intervention to Prevent Trafficking

Following a whole day of work by the children, on the evening of May 22, 2024 Cynthia Wilson ordered one of them – aged 11 – to take off his clothes before flogging him with a rattan with severe intensity, causing bruises and defecation. The child escaped from her and went into hiding behind a neighbour’s bathroom, as he did not know of anyone with whom he could seek refuge, knowing no one else in the community that may stand up for him. Whilst in hiding, a neighbour, Mr. Anthony Wesseh, noticed the child and brought him to the home of Mr. Rockson Wollor Sr, who works for the Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity as Head Mediator for the Logan Town Community Justice Teams. Upon seeing the condition of the boy, some women within the community became extremely upset and disturbed and demanded justice for him. Mr. Rockson Wollor Sr and five other ladies took the child to the police station in Logan Town and Cynthia Wilson was arrested.

Cynthia Wilson is feared by many residents because she possesses economic power. At the police station, Madam Wilson informed the police that she flogged the kid for toileting in the shop and that it was an act of witchcraft and she acted to get the witch out of him. The child, for his part, admitted to this but stated it was to avoid leaving the shop unsupervised. Cynthia was placed behind bars in a police cell and was later taken to court where she was found guilty and remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison. Cynthia was charged for Child Trafficking, Child Labour and Domestic Violence. The child was taken to a medical clinic by the Citizens Bureau along with community members who voluntarily gave cash amounting to $3,800LD ($20US), for medical support and feeding while undergoing treatment at the home of the head mediator who is also a member of the community.

After many efforts, the two children were eventually reunited with their family members who came from Bong County; their families could not hold back their emotions and were crying upon seeing the children and hearing of the abuse imposed on them by a woman they had never known or met. And that this had been going on since January 2022 without their knowledge.

An illustration of a family reunited after their children were trafficked.

However, the families of the children were thankful enough that humanity provoked the kind and generous intervention of the community making it possible to reunite with their kids and to uncover all that they have gone through in the hands of Madam Wilson. The parents of the kids hailed from Bong County in a village called Bolee and lived there more than 50 years. In conclusion, the family of both kids expressed gratitude to the Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity and the Jacket Community for standing up for their children against injustice and to finally give them justice and to reunite the family. That is how these children were rescued from forced labour and domestic violence.