In an effort to boost the capacity of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) in tackling the emerging crime of trafficking in persons, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in Liberia on Monday, October 5, donated several items including fourteen (14) motorbikes to the LIS.
Other items donated by the UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa, through its Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrant Unit, were twenty-five Techno phones and stationery, among others.
Delivering the items, UNODC law enforcement expert, Jose Manuel Lopez Alvarez, said the equipment and materials are intended to support the capacities of Liberia Immigration Service in its effort to counter the smuggling of migrants in Liberia.
He disclosed that since 2017, UNODC has worked hands to hands with the LIS in providing technical support, legislative assessment, and collecting information in the region about the modus operandi of the Criminals Networks, and Migrants Smuggling transiting through West Africa.
Alvarez said UNODC had developed a project titled, “Strengthening the capacities of West African States to effectively detect, investigate and prosecute trafficking in persons and migrants smuggling and protect victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrant.”
According to Alvarez, the project that is funded by the Government of Canada is intended to combat trafficking in the region.
He disclosed that in June 2018, UNODC conducted research and an assessment of the complaints of national legislative and regulatory frameworks of Liberia with international standards, especially the UN convention on transnational organized crime and its protocols against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air, as well as international human rights law and standards.
Alvarez said a key recommendation of the extensive consultations held with national stakeholders emphasized the need to draft and adopt a specific law on migrants’ smuggling and to provide assets and equipment to strengthen the capacities of the Liberia Immigration Service in rural porous borders.
“The procurement of the items are essential to have a holistic justice approach in countering the smuggling of migrants since UNODC has already provided the technical assistance in drafting and validating a new law on smuggling of migrants in line with the United Nations Convention against Smuggling of Migrants by Air, Land and Sea,” Alvarez said, adding: “This is indeed challenging times during this global crisis, but also times of great opportunity to explore new ways of cooperation, opportunity to do better and to do so together.”
Therefore, Alvarez said, “UNODC looks forward to working closely with you and the government of Liberia in addressing these challenges and opportunities in the future to make a world safe from terrorism.
Receiving the donation on behalf of Commissioner General Robert Budy who is on tour around the country, the Deputy for Administration, Moses K.Yebleh, extended thanks to UNODC for the gesture.
According to him the equipment and materials will be used for the intended purpose and will ensure to yield the need results.
He said the fourteen motorbikes will provided to 14 of the 15 counties consolidate the fight against migrant smuggling and acts of terrorism in the country.