Dozens of Liberian girls are becoming victims of a human trafficking syndicate which operates between here and the middle Eastern country of Lebanon allegedly by Lebanese merchant, this paper has learnt.
Liberia’s Labor Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe’ said 62 of the girls were reportedly taken from the country by some Lebanese businessmen, in collaboration with some Liberians under the guise of giving them a greener pasture.
Liberia is listed as one of the world’s poorest countries by the World Bank, a situation which has attracted its citizens to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
According to Minister Lighe, who is also Chairs the National Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking here, the perpetrators deceived the girls by promising better working conditions and incentives outside Liberia, but unfortunately upon arrival in Lebanon, the girls are then forced into bad labor practices.
He said to ensure that the girls abide by their rules, their travel documents are seized, upon arrival and are told by the perpetrators neither to talk to anyone nor make further contacts.
He said through the help of international partners and Interpol, the Liberian Government have so far succeeded in rescuing seven of the girls, efforts are on the way to rescue many more as their whereabouts are being traced.
Mr. Lighe further noted that arrangements are being made for the repatriation of the 7 girls by February 14 of this year to Liberia.
He said officers of the Liberia National Police, in collaboration with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization or BIN, have arrested some of the alleged perpetrators, and that the Ministry of Justice was making arrangement for their prosecution as soon as possible.
“The prosecution will start, especially when the girls are back, because we cannot go ahead with the prosecution in the absence of the victims. The coming of the girls delayed a little because of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease; we are getting good signals from partners about their coming, especially with eradication of the virus,” he said.
He noted that some of the alleged perpetrators are well established businessmen operating here.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor