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Investigate and prosecute more trafficking cases

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State Department urges GoL

The United States Government has urged the Government of Liberia to increase efforts in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases in Liberia, including internal trafficking and officials accused of complicity.

Accordingly, the U.S. maintains Liberia on its Tier 2 (trafficking) Watch List.

The 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the U.S. State Department Wednesday, September 29, 2021, says the Government of Liberia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to achieve this, including opening a new shelter for child trafficking victims, investigating a high-profile labor trafficking case in cooperation with foreign governments, and allocating funding to NGOs to conduct awareness campaigns.

However, it notes 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 report notes.

It says during the period under review, the government identified fewer victims, initiated fewer investigations, prosecuted fewer defendants, and did not convict any traffickers, while law enforcement officials continued to lack adequate resources and understanding of trafficking to effectively investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes in the country.

“Shelter services for victims remain insufficient, and the government did not support NGOs providing care to victims. Therefore, Liberia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List”, the State Department report declares.     

The report calls on the government here to train law enforcement and judicial officials on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases under the 2005 anti-trafficking law. It also wants the law amended to remove the requirement of force, fraud, or coercion in child sex trafficking cases, as well as amend the law to prescribe penalties for adult trafficking that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with the penalties of other crimes.

The U.S. recommends a need for expanded services, especially for victims outside Monrovia, males, and victims requiring long-term care as well as increase financial or in-kind support to NGOs that support trafficking victims.   

At the same time the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday, September 30, 2021, released its 2020 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. Titled the Trade and Development Act Report (TDA), the Report includes an assessment of the Government of Liberia’s actions to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the country, assessing Liberia as making “moderate advancement”, the second-highest of five assessments levels.

The Embassy of the United States near Monrovia congratulates Liberia for the progress but stresses that each person must do their part to ending exploitation and exposing those who engage in abusive labor practices.

It notes that the challenge is immense but so are the opportunities for action.

“We hope the government of Liberia will use the information in this report to take concrete steps to make these injustices relic of the past”, the Embassy says. Details of the report come in our subsequent publications. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/cameroonian-lady-held-for-human-trafficking/Compiled by Jonathan Browne

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