Liberia and the global community on Saturday July 30, 2022 observed International Day against Human Trafficking with an official program held in Gbarnga, Bong County.
In an official statement commemorating the day, President George M. Weah stressed that the Government of Liberia continues to exhibit the political will and provides the needed financial support to ensure that Human Trafficking is suppressed to the minimum.
According to the Liberian leader, Liberia continues to have its fair share of the many challenges and bitter experiences associated with combating Human Trafficking and protection of victims.
He indicated that as a consequent of which the National Taskforce against Human Trafficking over the last 12 month was able to arrest several perpetrators, rescued several victims and successfully prosecuted six out of seven cases that went to court.
“A very stringent Anti-Human Trafficking law was also enacted and a total of three modern safe homes established” he asserted.
Additionally, several local None-governmental organizations (NGOs) were empowered to accelerate awareness against Human Trafficking in all our 15 political sub-divisions, through radio talk show, jiggles, movie clips, community and Town Hall meetings, town criers and other means of conventional and traditional communications, Pres. Weah emphasized.
This effort, he maintained, will continue through diplomatic and other means until a permanent solution is found to ensure that Liberians seeking employment abroad are protected. “It’s important to note that Liberia’s fight against Human Trafficking is not limited to within our borders” the statement added.
He disclosed that the National Taskforce against Human Trafficking took the initiative and made official visits to the Republics of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast to share experiences and strategies noting that as a consequence of these subregional engagements, a consensus was reached for the convening of a special Mano River Union Submit on Human Trafficking and Liberia will be hosting that submit before the end of this year.
The President indicated that all of these achievements could not have been made possible without the partnership and guidance of the international community, especially the United States Embassy near Monrovia, the IDLO, the IOM, the ILO and several other international partners and local NGOs.
He revealed that as a government, “our allotment to fight Human Trafficking has increased from $50,000 annually to over $300,000 annually in just two years, adding that it is against this backdrop that government wants to thank the National Taskforce against Human Trafficking, under the Chairmanship of Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, the Minister of Labor and all of its lined Ministries which include Justice , Foreign Affairs, Gender, Children and Social Protection and Internal Affairs, as well as our partners for working so hard to ensuring that Liberia was elevated from Tire 2 Watch List to Tire 2.
July 30th of each year is observed as the International Day against Human Trafficking worldwide.
Delivering a special remark during the celebration, the Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson said the use of internet has account for over 90% of human trafficking cases and warned Liberians to be careful of who to communicate with on social media.
He said of the seven cases so far prosecuted by government, the list of witnesses has revealed that people are connected through phone calls, thereby calling on parents to advise their children on the proper use of social media.
Minister Gibson used the occasion to commend Judge Cornelius F. Wennah for his recognition as TIP Heroes for 2022 as well as the Ministry of Justice, International partners, local civil society organizations and the TIP secretariat of the Ministry of Labour for the contributions in ensuring that Liberia is upgraded to Tier 2 on the TIP ranking of the U.S. Department of State 2022 TIP Report.
He extended special thanks to the United States Embassy in Monrovia for guarding the Taskforce to pass this mark by doing the right things.
The Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia said that Country is committed to ensuring that Liberia moves to Tier 1 by next year promising to never go back on this record.
He praised government for the political will in supporting the fight against human trafficking noting that it has at no time held back support to the working of the taskforce.
However, Minister Gibson said that everyone has the right to travel in search of employment, but said to be suggested to slavery amounts to terrorism, adding that the situation of the Liberian girls in Oman is becoming embarrassing.
In a brief statement, Judge Cornelius Flomo Wennah said that a TIP Heroes means that Liberia at Tier 2 country can rise to higher heights to even graduate from the level of Tier 1. He noted that the efforts he has seen over the years while working with other in Liberia, this goal can be achieved.
During the celebration of the day, members of the Taskforce including the Ministries of Justice, Gender, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs as well as international partners, IDOL, WinRock International, Samaritans Purse, DCI, IOM, World Hope amongst others issued statements of reaffirmation of commitments to the fight against human trafficking in Liberia.