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Liberia: Trafficking Taskforce on amending law to ban Human Trafficking

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The Trafficking Taskforce here has concluded a one day symposium to amend certain provisions of the Law to ban Human Trafficking in Liberia.

At the symposium which was held on Friday, August 20, 2021t the Ministry of Labour in Monrovia, over 40 participants including Members of the Senate Committees on Labour and Judiciary, the House Committee on Labour and Judiciary, members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce, Lawyers, the US Embassy as well as Local and International Department Partners attended the one-day event.

Speaking during the symposium, the Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson said that the symposium seeks to amend the Anti-Human Trafficking Law of Liberia.

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He said that it is also intended to look at the concerns of the United States Government Report on trafficking in Liberia, especially in the areas of prosecution, strengthening of the Laws, and protection for witnesses.

He said the symposium attempt to address the issue of strengthening the laws, noting that the penalties attached to convicts of human trafficking in Liberia are not rigid sufficient to warrant deterrent.

He added that the conditionality to prove the use of force and coercion for minors is not attainable because minors cannot give consent. He also noted that victims of human trafficking must have the responsibility to recover damages.

The Chairman of Taskforce informed the Lawmakers that human trafficking is not just an individual business, but transnational; sometimes carried out by registered businesses and organizations.

“To do human trafficking under the cloud of these legitimate businesses, even individuals when they are convicted, the victim must have a remedy to law and after the prosecution, they should also have a remedy to civil damages. These are some of the things we have addressed in this amendment” Min. Gibson noted.

He said that prior to the symposium, the Ministry of Labour through the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce retained the services of five very experienced lawyers who have had training in legislative drafting including himself are capable to achieve this amendment.

Minister Gibson noted that the Taskforce hopes to submit to the Legislature the amended provisions of the document on Thursday of next week following the cleaning up of the document for passage.

He disclosed that TIP is one of the serious imperatives that a country must fulfill to qualify for certain financial benefits from the US Government. 

 Minister Gibson used the occasion to inform the Members of the Liberian Legislature and other participants that there are currently five trafficking cases and expressed confidence that the task force is determined to ensure that they are heard during this term of court. He said that lawyers of the Taskforce have reviewed the evidence and are sure that they will secure a conviction. As regards the protection of witnesses, the Chairman of the Taskforce said that they have established one safe-Home in Monrovia and, it is intending to establish three additional homes outside Monrovia.

In separate remarks, the Chairpersons of the various Committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives praised Minister Gibson for the symposium and expressed their willingness in working with the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce to strengthen the laws on trafficking in Liberia.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Wellington Geevon Smith, and Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of the Senate Judicially Committee headed the Senate delegation while, the Chairman of the House Committee on Labour, Rep. P. Mike Jurry and Rep. A. Kanie Wesso, Chairman on Judiciary, House of Representatives were head of the House delegation.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/2021-human-trafficking-report-downgrades-liberia/

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