Gender Ministry Gives US$150 toTrafficked Girls

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The Ministry of Gender last Wednesday presented US$150 each to 14 Liberian girls who were recently repatriated from Lebanon.
The Ministry also gave them food and various supplies, when Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and her team visited their temporary shelter in Kakata, Margibi County.
Minister Cassell encouraged the girls to be patient as the government is exerting efforts to ensure that they get justice.
She explained to the girls that the reason for taking them out of Monrovia was to ensure that they are kept in a “secret place” to wait for the trial.
“We are keeping you as a form of protection from those perpetrators and to provide medical care,” she added.
In an interview, some of the girls told journalists that they never received a dime or any food from the government since March this year.
However, Minister Cassell said “The government gave each of them US$150 along with food and toiletries.”
“They agreed for the Ministry to buy their needs without giving money, and they later asked for cash because they are big enough to take care of themselves. What we are giving them today is half of July’s supplies,” Min. Cassell stated.
Meanwhile the girls appealed to the government to speed up their case so that they can rejoin their families.
“I went to Lebanon with the expectation of achieving higher and better education in 2012. When I got to the airport a lady received me and asked for my passport. At 3 a.m. that night she woke me up and asked me to cook her food and clean her house as a house maid,” said Remar Nyepan, 25.
“Since we returned to Liberia, we have been living in this big fence for the past four months because the government told us to remain here and we will be taken to our families later after the case is settled.
“We are tired and want justice to prevail. I am ready to go to court so that those people can pay for the damages they have caused me,” Muffittee Panma said.
Ms. Panma, who said she is a high school graduate, regretted her present condition and said, “There is no justice for the poor in this country.”
Victim Gloria Jackson said “After our struggle in Lebanon, eating bread, beaten, sexually abused, we were very happy to be back home, and now we are here going through difficulties to get food.
“We have to put our money together before we can eat. It took the Lebanese government a few days to put Bushir behind bars, but here we are appealing to our government for the past four months and we can’t get any result.”
Ms. Jackson called on the Ministry of Justice and Labor to listen to their appeal to settle their case.
“People must see us as their sisters, daughters and mothers and ensure that those perpetrators don’t go unpunished. Each time I think of the agony I went through in Lebanon since 2012 to 2014 it breaks my heart, so I will be free and healthy when my government speeds up the trial,” Ms. Jackson said in tears.

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