The cross-border security personnel of two countries known to be hubs for Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) have recommitted themselves to be more effective in the fight to prevent human trafficking.
The border joint security of Liberia and Sierra Leone have also vowed to collaborate with the National Task Force on Human Trafficking from both countries, along with civil society organizations, to build an operative multi-lateral response to shutdown the networks of the TIPs, including when a victim is recruited by a trafficker in one country and he or she is exploited in another.
The two countries’ border security officials, civil society representatives, and leaders of several communities made their pledges through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Thursday to strengthen bilateral efforts to tackle child trafficking.
The MOU was signed at the Bo-waterside border (Boport) in Grand Cape Mount County at the end of a two-day training organized by Defense for Children International (DCI), which brought together about 45 members of the government, law enforcement, communities and civil societies from Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Trafficking in Persons, according to the Liberian law, means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by means of threat, use of force or other means of coercion, or by abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability.
It also includes the giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person, and having control over a person for the exploitation of the person. The law further said exploitation means subjecting a person to practices similar to slavery, causing a person to provide forced labor or service, prostitution or commercial sex and the illicit removal of human organs.
The law was ratified and printed into handbill on July 5, 2005. The Executive Director of DCI-Liberia, Atty. Philip Kawah, said the training enhanced collaboration against human trafficking and popularized the Liberian Law among border security officials, CSOs and community leaders. The Executive Director for DCI-Sierra Leone, Abdul Manaff Kemokai, said the capacity building exercise strengthened cooperation on how to be effective in their core duties.
Defense for Children International (DCI) is an independent non-governmental organization that ensures practical, systematic and concerted international and national actions specially directed towards promoting and protecting the rights of the child, as articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Their main areas of work are child labor, juvenile justice, child prostitution, children in armed conflict and child rights education.
The Coordinator of the Secretariat of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking of Sierra Leone, Mr. Dehunge Shiaka, said, in Sierra Leone, “children are more prone to trafficked than older persons, and there are more cases of internal trafficking than cross border trafficking.”
Meanwhile, according to the June 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, Sierra Leone is Tier 2, while Liberia is on the Tier 2 Watch list.
The governments of both countries do not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and they did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. However, they are making significant efforts to do so. The governments demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by undertaking awareness and raising efforts and reaffirming their commitment to enacting anti-trafficking legislation.