Three child traffickers arrested

Posted: June 9, 2010 in Crime
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Three suspects, who attempted buying a one year old baby on Monday, June 7 at Awoshie, a suburb of Accra, are now in the grips of the police.
The incident comes barely a week after a chilling revelation by a non-governmental organization (NGO), ACHD, that child trafficking was still rife in the country.

The three, Aseidu Ampong, 43, a second hand cloth trader, Happy Azazu, 40, a trader at the Cocoa Marketing Board area (CMB), and Cecilia Bali, 44, a prophetess, were arrested by the police personnel from the Regional Police Command upon a tip off.

The suspects, after the arrest, were handed over to the Railways Police station at about 8:45pm.

They were later transferred to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) on Tuesday, June 8.

Briefing the media on the issue, Chief Inspector Irene Oppong, Public Relations Officer of DOVVSU, Accra, said the Regional DOVVSU, at about 12 noon, received an extract from the Railways Police Station, together with the 23 year old complainant, Maabena, and her one year old daughter, Rebecca Owusu Ansah, with three suspects (Aseidu Ampong, Happy Azazu, Cecilia Bali), including a cash sum of GH¢894 as well as a piece of cloth.

She said, on June 1 2010, Aseidu Ampong approached the complainant, and enquired from her whether she needed assistance with her business since the economic conditions in the country were becoming unbearable, especially, as she was having a daughter.

The complainant, according to the PRO, answered in the affirmative, but Aseidu went further to offer GH¢2,000 in exchange for her one year daughter.
Sensing foul play, the complainant then reported the case to a police station at the Accra Central Police Station, who also assisted her with some police personnel leading to the eventual arrest of the suspects.

Chief Inspector Irene Oppong noted that the complainant, after having agreed to the conditions of the deal, was given GH¢1 by Aseidu Ampong, together with his telephone number, to meet him at Kaneshie on Monday, June 7.
“The police were already on the ground, and monitored them to Awoshie, where they were arrested,” noted the PRO.

According to her, at a point, Aseidu became suspicious that the girl was not ready to move, and decided to run away, but the timely intervention of the police prevented him from taking to his heels.

Upon his (Asiedu) arrest, he assisted the police to arrest his other accomplices.

Chief Inspector Irene Oppong said Happy Azasu, after a telephone call to Asiedu, met them at a point to transact business with the complainant, but decided to abort the transaction after her identity was revealed.

“Happy, after being indentified by the complainant, decided not to transact the business with her, and immediately left the scene, and told her that her sister, Cecilia Bali, will come and give her the money, in exchange for the baby girl,” Chief Inspector Oppong averred.

She observed that Cecilia Bali, upon her arrival at the scene, offered to pay GH¢1,200 in exchange for the baby girl upon the instructions from her sister, Happy Azasu, and dumped the money, together with a wrapped piece of cloth, on the lady.

The complainant, according to the PRO, after receiving the money, told Madam Bali to wait for it to be counted, but Asiedu signaled her to run away, since he had been arrested, and was under police surveillance.

“In her attempt to run away, she was arrested by the police, who had already laid ambush,” Chief Inspector Oppong noted.

Happy Azasu, according to the PRO, was later arrested at her hideout by the police.

She said the police had taken their caution statements, and was charging them on child trafficking offence.

Act 694 of the Human Trafficking Act, 2005, defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, trading or receipt of persons within and across national borders by (a) the use of threats, force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power, or exploitation of vulnerability, or (b) giving or receiving payments and benefits to achieve consent.

Asiedu Ampong, according the PRO, had denied the allegations.

According to the sources at the Railways Police Station, it was the second time in three months that such an incident had happened in the area.


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