The Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles Gibson has announced that the Government through the Ministry of Finance allocated an initial amount of US$50,000.00 for the repatriation of Liberian females from Oman who have been allegedly abused and molested by their employers.
Minister Gibson said that the government has put in place a mechanism to ensure that the movement of females to Oman is restricted as a means of ensuring that the current situation of Liberian women in that country does not recur.
Cllr. Gibson made the statement on Thursday, December 16, 2021, at the ceremony marking the official dedication of a newly established Unit on Human Trafficking at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in Monrovia. The Chairman of the Taskforce said that human trafficking has become an alarming situation in the region that it needs an exclusive investigative unit in the LNP to expedite cases to be taken to court.
He said that people who are trafficked are usually from other countries and the longer they are still in transit, the more they become reluctant and not available for trial.
Therefore, the Taskforce and partners decided to create a special unit at the LNP which he described as a breakthrough in ensuring that cases are expeditiously investigated and taken to court.
“This Unit has linkages with all police and Immigration offices in the fifteen counties of Liberia. It started work two months ago and through their work, the LNP was able to rescue two Liberian females from the Ivory Coast and they are also investigating the situation from Oman. They are also working with Lawyers of the Taskforce to ensure that when cases go to court, there is evidence to show convictions,” he said.
Minister Gibson further said that he and some members of the Taskforce are expected to travel to Sierra Leone to meet with their counterparts to discuss means of restraining the movement of people that are said to be trafficked in this region.
He used the occasion to thank the Inspector-General of the Liberia National Police, the Ministry of Justice, the United States Embassy near Monrovia, and partners for their contribution but noted the setting up of the Unit, an initiative exclusive of the Government with no donation money.
He added that the GOL is putting a lot of money to ensure that the fight against human trafficking is successful.
For his part, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Col. Patrick Sudue, said that the issue of human trafficking is a grave concern to not only the government of Liberia but to all Liberians. He said that the LNP is doing everything possible to ensure that Liberia will not be used as a transit point for human trafficking and that the practice will not also be allowed in any part of Liberia.
The LNP boss said that his men will ensure that the issue about the women and girls who were trafficked to Oman will be handled both diplomatically and internally, noting that the LNP will continue to ensure that Liberians out there that need help from the government will be provided with the necessary assistance.
He assured Liberians and foreign partners of the LNP readiness in the fight against human trafficking in Liberia. In a brief remark the Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Mr. Joel Maybury said it is important to note the efforts of the government of Liberia in the fight against human trafficking.
He said that why it is true that we are talking about perpetrators is also important, but let us not forget about the victim-centered approach. “So it is not about rushing to go and interview victims as journalists, investigators, and diplomats. We have to remember that they are the ones who are traumatized, they are the ones who have faced something unimaginable and they are the ones who have gone through something which they should not have experienced.
The ceremony was graced by officials from the United States Embassy near Monrovia headed by Mr. Joel Maybury, Deputy Chief of Mission, Ministries of Justice, Gender, Labour, LNP, and other members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia.