The Plenary of the House of Representatives has instructed its Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice, Gender and Labor to probe into claims that 67 Liberian females are being used as sexual and domestic slaves in Lebanon.
Plenary reached the decision during the House of Representatives 9th day sitting of the 4th Session following a joint communication from Representatives Bhofal Chambers of Maryland County and Munah Pelham-Youngblood of Montserrado County respectively.
“Predicated upon the foregoing, we are greatly troubled and write to solicit your endorsement for the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, Minister of Labor, Minister of Gender and Child Protection and the Minister of Justice, to be invited for a comprehensive update to plenary on the state of the affairs of our citizens in Lebanon, who are reportedly being mistreated, as the report asserts that the young ladies desperately want to return home”, the Lawmakers averred in the letter.
They described the allegation of Liberian girls being used as sex and domestic slaves as callous, inhuman and disgraceful.
Reps. Chambers and Youngblood said their attention was drawn from a lead story in the February 5, 2015 Edition of the In Profile Daily Newspaper captioned: “Liberian Girls in Lebanon To Be Repatriated” in which the paper alleged that 67 Liberian females are being used as sexual and domestic slaves for US$ 250.00.
Representative Chambers is the Chairman on Defense, while Representative Pleham-Youngblood Co-chairs the Committee on Contract, Monopolies, Public Procurement and Concession.
Following the reading and subsequent debate on the floor, Plenary mandated the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice, Gender and Child Protection and Labor to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, Minister of Labor, Minister of Gender and Child Protection and the Minister of Justice, respectively to ascertain the facts and advice Plenary in one week.
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is concerned about the welfare of seven Liberian girls that were allegedly trafficked to the Republic of Lebanon and that all frantic efforts are being made to get the girls returned to Liberia soon.
The girls, named RemaNyepan, Ayres M. Jasper, Bernice Gbar, Muffitte N. Panma, Grace K. David, Emma T. Swaber and Patience King were reportedly subjected to slavery and abuse by residents to whom they were contracted for housekeeping.
Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, made the disclosure last Wednesday when he responded to a group of local journalists, who had gone to seek clarity on the saga of the Liberian girls.
Minister Kanneh also asserted that the Liberian Government has been investigating the matter and in order to facilitate the return of the girls to Liberia, has sent travel documentations along with tickets while flight arrangements are being finalized.
Minister Kanneh’s clarity runs contrary to media reports that the Government has not shown any interest in the alleged trafficked Liberian girls.
The Deputy Foreign Minister also disclosed that these efforts are being made in conjunction with other relevant stakeholders, including the Ministries of Justice and Labor and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
By Ben P. Wesee