The Government of Liberia has secured the release of ten Liberian female migrant workers that had been trapped for more than two years in Lebanon and have brought them home.
The young girls allegedly faced a life of servitude and humiliation including sexual molestation by some Lebanese agents that “sponsored” their travel to Lebanon.
After persistent media reporting about their plight and the refusal of their captors to release the girls, GOL recently dispatched a delegation to Beirut with the necessary travel documents and air tickets to ensure the speedy return of the girls as well as to build a legal case to prosecute the perpetrators.
According to Labor Minister Neto Z. Lighe Sr., head of the delegation to Beirut, the girls recently touched down at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) and are being kept under security protection away from the public in order to “protect the image and identity of the alleged rape victims.”
“For now we have not reunited them with their families because we want to get statements from them to begin prosecuting the alleged perpetrators.
“We are preparing indictments against the accused and can only make a case if we gather testimonies from the victims. We are closely working with the Lebanese ministries of Justice and Labor to enable us to move further with legal action” said Atty. Lighe.
“Initially we prepared for seven girls, but when we got to Beirut, the number exceeded what was expected.
“Actually, we should have returned with twelve girls but due to their late arrival, we managed to secure ten. The travel documents of the other two had not been processed so their return was not possible at this time, but we hope to bring them back to Liberia soon,” Lighe explained.
He disclosed that two of the Lebanese nationals accused of involvement in trafficking the girls to Lebanon have been banned from leaving Liberia and their passports and other travel documents are in the possession of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and will only be released pending a government to government interaction with Beirut regarding their prosecution.
Minister Lighe described the delegation’s mission to Beirut as “very successful,” adding that there’s nothing more important than bringing the girls back home to Liberia.
The high-power Liberian delegation left Monrovia recently for Beirut in an effort to fast track the return of the Liberian girls whose search for greener pastures in Lebanon resulted to dehumanizing treatment of them by alleged traffickers.
The delegation included Jeddi Aman, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) Commissioner Lemuel Reeves, a representative of the Ministry of Justice and Joseph Flomo, 105 Liberia National Police.
Meanwhile, Lighe stated that the case is of serious interest to GOL and as such, everything possible would be done to prosecute those who are convicted of crimes against the Liberian girls, causing them hardship and suffering in Lebanon.