Sierra Leonean-born, UK Footballer Opens Up About Being Trafficked For Sex

Sierra Leonean-born, UK Footballer Opens Up About Being Trafficked For Sex

A former Premier League footballer from the U.K. is opening up about the sexual abuses he suffered while pursuing his dream of being a professional athlete.

Al Bangura was born and raised in Sierra Leone. When he was 16, he moved to Guinea. It was there that he met a French man who claimed he could help Bangura become a professional football player in Europe.

“I didn’t know he had another different intention,” Bangura recently told radio host Victoria Derbyshire in an interview. “To get me into the sex trade.”

Bangura traveled with the man to the U.K. Shortly after arriving, the man brought him to an empty building, where he left him for an hour and a half.

“The guy left me,” he recalled, “all of a sudden I saw two or three guys come around me, trying to rape me and make me do stuff.”

He went on to recount the terrifying incident: “Because I was young and I was small… I was just screaming, shouting, crying… I tried to make my way out. I was cold, I was scared, I was crying, I didn’t know where to start.”

“I made my way outside,” he continued. “I was thinking this is the end of my life. All I wanted to do was play football.”

After escaping the horrifying scene, a stranger he met on the street helped Bangura apply for asylum in the country. He was given housing and granted a two-year stay, but it took him several months to get over the trauma of what happened in that empty building.

“I was so emotional,” he recalled. “After a few months I’d kind of forgotten about what I’d been through, it was sad for me, but I ended up coming to a good thing. I started meeting people, started playing football, and I got the opportunity to join Watford when I was 16, and things just started building up for me.”

Bangura, now 27 years old, is calling for FIFA to establish “a blanket ban on the signing of minors” to football teams. He hopes that such a ban will save the thousands of youths who leave Africa in hopes of becoming professional athletes but who often finding themselves sexually exploited instead.

“I’ve been through that,” he said, “I survived. But what about the young kids that are coming up? Are they going to survive? Are they going to cope with that? We really need to find a way to stop all that.”

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28 Comments

      • thatinyvoice
        November 24, 11:33 Reply

        The story lacks substance, what happened to him was really a bad thing. Because he was unfortunate and he’s helper turned out to be fraud. And from what I read, their is no reason “calling for FIFA to establish “a blanket ban on the signing of minors” to football teams” just because the con man used that trick on him to get him raped/almost rape. *not sure*

    • Mandy
      November 24, 07:06 Reply

      How is his story shallow?

  1. Nightwing
    November 24, 07:17 Reply

    Details, I want details. I get his message though. He’s a strong one ?

  2. Duke
    November 24, 08:05 Reply

    I feel sad for him. Being raped is bad enough, but as a kid… Shit!

  3. Sinnex
    November 24, 08:17 Reply

    Eeeyah….

    What were you expecting?

    A total stranger offered to take you to Europe to play ball and you went with open arms. You did not even ask for documents. Oh, you were a minor. I wonder how a minor was able to escape being raped by 3 guys in a strange land and immediately he went out he met another guy who helped him. I guess he is just a lucky fella.

    The story doesn’t even make sense at all. I don’t even know the guy.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      November 24, 08:27 Reply

      Comments such as this leave me tired and wondering!

      Do you know how many boys and girls that are taken from poor communities across the continent daily and promised a better life in the West? Do you know the figures?

      Hundreds of thousands of kids are trafficked daily and the poor conditions they are coming from doesn’t leave them much of a choice! Sometimes parents are even in on it. These are kids for pete’s sake! How much negotiation power do they have?

      The story doesn’t make sense? Because he did not give details on how he was pinned down and taken one by one by those men? Because he did not reveal the scars that still remain?

      Before we judge people, let us wear their shoes for just a little bit!

  4. Dennis Macaulay
    November 24, 08:21 Reply

    Rape is disheartening! Imagine someone taking away a piece of you like that! I don’t know if people actually heal from rape or they just will themselves to forget!

    I cannot wrap my head around raping someone! Its gruesome!

  5. Chizzie
    November 24, 08:33 Reply

    I feel he’s leaving out some details. A lot of details actually. 3 men tried to rape you and after screaming and crying you “managed” to make your way out…rigghhhhht. Seems like something that a certain inhabitant of a sea port slum city would cook up.

  6. posh6666
    November 24, 08:59 Reply

    If this is true then am really surprised cos atlethes are like the most homophobic bunch for someone to now say guys get sexually molested wow…Guess so many downlows will probably be coming out in the near future.

    • #Chestnut
      November 24, 09:41 Reply

      @posh: but it’s not surprising for homphobes to say that guys get molested (by gay men); in fact,that’s one of the arguments they run to in their bid to discredit gay ppl.also,this guy didn’t exactly “come out” as a DL gay guy.
      (I hope I understood ur comment b4 responding)

      • posh6666
        November 24, 09:50 Reply

        U didnt totally understand me,am talking about those guys who are involved in making athletes become successful like the guy who lured this alleged rape victim with the promise of helping him and the homophobic athletes you see in locker rooms who try to avoid openly gay guys like lepers meanwhile some of them probably gave up their ass as a price to pay for success like the guy above said that sexual assault is rampant,so guessing some of them clearly just decide to keep quiet

        • #Chestnut
          November 24, 10:11 Reply

          Oh,my bad. I just figured the guy that lured him wasn’t actually an athlete or scout,but just a con man.

        • keredim
          November 24, 13:25 Reply

          @Chestnut, I think you are correct in assuming that the scout is not an athlete (past or current).

          @Posh, not sure I understand your comments. Are you saying that because an athlete got molested they are gay?!?

    • ikhines
      November 24, 11:33 Reply

      Smh! You really don’t understand the issue here… just read it 3 more times maybe you will getva hint! Pinhead!

  7. Jaden
    November 24, 10:28 Reply

    Okay… Sorry… Next!

  8. Khaleesi
    November 24, 10:30 Reply

    This is top quality ammunition for the homophobes! further justification as to why gays are evil creatures who want to fuck every young boy they come across …

    • Dennis Macaulay
      November 24, 11:06 Reply

      There is rape /sex trafficking and there is homosexuality!

      Let’s not mix up two issues that aren’t related

      • Marc Francis of Chelsea
        November 24, 11:16 Reply

        Exactly what I was about to say. This is a story on rape and sex trafficking, not on homosexuality.

    • Max
      November 24, 12:35 Reply

      Yes, a Loaded gun for the homophobes…

  9. Chuck
    November 24, 13:15 Reply

    Oya Mr. ideal and Mr Universe Nigeria contestants: come and tell your stories o

  10. Jaden
    November 24, 18:06 Reply

    The story is not inspiring at all. He told it in a way that made it look like gays are pervs and users.
    OAN: I am not sure he told the whole story.

  11. Dickson Clement
    November 24, 23:24 Reply

    Rape is not an experience anyone would love to remember, the physical damages, the beating, the pain, ur soul is dragged out with each thrust, u struggle until there is no energy left, then U relax and wait for the end! Let’s support this guy’s vision for young africans!

  12. Jeova Sanctus Unus
    December 18, 11:01 Reply

    He told a story. He didn’t tell it any differently. Can we just stop with the defensiveness?

    He got molested.

    No one tries to draw such conclusion with heterosexual rape.

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