Stranded African visitors were deceived in what appears to be a strong case of human trafficking, says Sean Bird
The Africans who have arrived here since November were deceived, says Sean Bird, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. John’s Rural East, since they were told they would be able to travel freely from Antigua to other destinations.
Bird reports an encounter he had with a Cameroonian on Monday, January 9, and says he made certain revelations.
According to Bird, the man said that what the Africans are experiencing here and what they were told in Cameroon are completely different. And he admitted to being told that Antigua could be used as a gateway to their intended destinations.
Bird says the man expressed the desire to get to Brazil, where he has family members, while some of his countrymen want to get to Suriname. But since arriving here, he says, he has not been able to leave the island.
Bird says he was attempting to have the visitor do a live interview; however, the man apparently got cold feet and backed out.
The UPP Candidate describes the Cameroonian as an intelligent, well-spoken man who was clear about his reasons for travelling here.
According to Bird, the man says he is running low on money, since his intention was to have journeyed to South America to meet his family; but attempts to leave the country have been blocked.
Bird says the stranded Africans with whom he had a conversation are reportedly staying in Ottos and trying to determine their next move.
In the meantime, he says there is a strong case for branding these events as human trafficking, given the claims being made by the Africans.