By Bridgett Milton
United States Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy lauds the Government of Liberia on the passing and signing of the Revised Trafficking in Persons Act of 2021.
Speaking at his Benson Street office near Monrovia Tuesday, October 19, 2021, Ambassador McCarthy said this brings the Liberian law in line with international standards.
However, he notes: “We are looking forward to seeing the published government handbill, which officially puts the law into effect.”
The U.S. Envoy says trafficking in person is a worldwide problem, and not unique to Liberia but each country has a responsibility to combat this global scourge, saying “We have our own challenges with trafficking which is why the Department of state includes the United States in the annual Trafficking in-person report as well.”
He says the new Liberian Legislation is important because Liberia was downgraded to Tier 2 watchlist in the 2021 report, which is significant because countries on the watchlist may be automatically downgraded to Tier 3 if they do not show progress.
He also says U.S. foreign assistance to Tier 3 countries is significantly restricted and that is the last thing it wants to see happen to Liberia.
Amb. McCarthy notes that another key recommendation in the report is increasing investigations and prosecutions of trafficking cases, stressing that if that is done well, it will naturally lead to more convictions of persons involved in trafficking.
“Traffickers must face justice, the laws must be enforced and victims must have access to services.”
He says as long as the Liberian government is making an effort to combat the scourge of human trafficking and child labor, the United States will continue to support those efforts.
‘Our reporting for the 2022 report is happening now, and we are following closely cases making their way through the justice system. If at the end of all these cases there are no convictions, then what good is the new law?” The Ambassador asks.
He reveals that since 2005, the United States has committed more than $149.5 million to support civilian security and justice sector programs in Liberia, adding that these programs increase the capacity of the country’s civilian security agencies and the Ministry of Justice to maintain peace and stability and to become a more effective partner with the United States and other West African countries.
Meanwhile, Amb. McCarthy reiterates that the issue of power theft in Liberia represents one of the greatest threats to Liberia’s development, stressing that by contributing to LEC (Liberia Electricity Corporation’s) commercial losses, this theft prevents the utility from conducting preventative maintenance and installing new connections, which also raises the price for electricity for Liberians to one of the highest tariffs in the world.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/investigate-and-prosecute-more-trafficking-cases/ Editing by Jonathan Browne