By Jonathan Browne
The United States government releases the 2021 Trafficking in person report on Liberia, places the country on its Tier 2 Watch List, for failure to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. However, it says the Government of Liberia is making significant efforts to do so.
The report released Thursday, July 01, 2021, says, these efforts include opening a new shelter for child trafficking victims, initiating an investigation into a high-profile labor trafficking case in cooperation with foreign governments, and allocating funding to NGOs to conduct awareness-raising campaigns.
However, the report says the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.
“The government identified fewer victims, initiated fewer investigations, prosecuted fewer defendants, and did not convict any traffickers”, the report reads and observes that law enforcement officials in the country continued to lack adequate resources and understanding of trafficking to effectively investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes, while shelter services for victims remained insufficient, and the government did not support NGOs providing care to victims, hence, Liberia is downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.
The report recommends increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, including internal trafficking cases and officials accused of complicity.
It calls for training of law enforcement and judicial officials on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases under the 2005 anti-trafficking law, and amendment of the 2005 anti-trafficking law to remove the requirement of force, fraud, or coercion in child sex trafficking cases.
It says the government should amend the law to prescribe penalties for adult trafficking that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with the penalties for other grave crimes; expand victim services, particularly for victims outside the capital, males, and victims requiring long-term care.
It also calls increase financial or in-kind support to NGOs that support trafficking victims as well as allocation of financial and in-kind resources, as feasible, to the anti-trafficking task force, among others.https://lr.usembassy.gov/statement-on-the-release-of-the-2021-trafficking-in-persons-report-for-liberia/