Liberia Weak in Fighting Human Trafficking, Says US State Department State

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The U.S. Department of State has unveiled that Liberia is yet to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

Although the State Department’s report partially praised Liberia for “an increased number of investigations and prosecutions of alleged trafficking offenses,”  including steps taken by government to adopt a five-year national action plan to combat human trafficking, the report, however, notes that Liberia remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

According to the report, most trafficking victims originate from and are exploited within the country’s borders, where they are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, sex trafficking, or forced labor in street vending, rubber plantations, and alluvial diamond/gold mines.

“A small number of Liberian women and children are subjected to human trafficking in other West African countries, including Cŏte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria,” the report said.

It also unveiled that transnational trafficking comes to Liberia from neighboring West African countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, and the victims are subjected to the same types of exploitation as internally trafficked ones. 

The report further indicates that women from Tunisia and Morocco were subjected to sex trafficking in Liberia.  It added that amidst all these, Liberia has not convicted a Liberian for trafficking in persons.

The State Department urged the government of Liberia to prosecute, convict and sentence traffickers.

It also called for vigorous investigation, prosecution, and conviction of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.

The State Department, having realized some lapses in the Judicial system of Liberia, recommended to the Liberian government to provide additional training to law enforcement officials and magistrates to apply anti-trafficking laws and to distinguish trafficking crimes from cases of human smuggling or kidnapping.

The report also calls on Liberia to educate representatives of non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies, courts, and other government agencies on the “Direct Assistance and Support to Trafficked Victims Standard Operating Procedures,” so that they learn to proactively identify and provide protective services to trafficking victims, create and adequately fund a shelter specifically for trafficking victims, and increase efforts to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.

The Trafficking in Person (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments in the fight against human trafficking.  It serves as the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.

Unlike previous limited understanding about human trafficking that got people to believe it to be selling the victim to a foreign country for ritual purpose or slavery, the act is nowadays clearly understood to be domestically oriented.

As public awareness had acknowledged on many occasions, relatives and loved ones take others’ children from the hinterland under the guise that they are bringing them to the city to send them to school.

When they are brought, the children become domestic servants to them and their biological children thereby denying them of most privileges and rights they are entitled to as humans.

Most of these children do not attend good schools and many  do not attend at all, but are used to sell for their guardians and support the home.

It is evidently clear that in Monrovia many children are found in street places selling biscuit, candy, cold water and other goods that are easily conveyed in the hands.

Some women are also in the streets carrying children around begging for money.

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