A high-power Liberian delegation left the country Thursday for Lebanon, in an effort to fast track the return of seven Liberian girls whose search for greener pastures resulted to dehumanizing treatment reportedly endured in that country.
The delegation, headed by Labor Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe, includes Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Jeddi Aman, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner Lemuel Reeves and the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division or CID at the Liberia National Police, Col. Joseph Flomo.
The mandate of the delegation, according to Minister Lighe, is to ensure that the Liberians return home peacefully, while arrangements for the possible return of other Liberians believed to be in similar situations in Lebanon are made.
Minister Lighe disclosed that the Liberian Government was closely working with Interpol and Beirut to search for and identify other Liberians living under adverse conditions for evacuation in the soonest possible time.
“The intent of this trip is to get first hand information about our citizens living in Lebanon and to address their condition,” Lighe said, noting that it was important to be on the ground in Lebanon and ask the right people the right questions other than sitting in Monrovia and holding telephone conversations with people in Beirut.
According to him, all efforts and procedures have been put in place to ensure that the girls return home in safety to their families.
“We have done everything possible to make sure that these girls get their passports and return home to Liberia.
The girls’ return will be made public upon arrival, and things are on course.”
Reports had indicated that they were abused by their hosts, with claims that thousands of dollars was spent to get them to Lebanon.
According to Minister Lighe- also Chairman of the National Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking in Liberia, the girls agreed to leave Liberia after being deceived that they would have a better life in Lebanon.
“Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and promise of good life elsewhere attracts its citizens.”
The seven Liberian girls were reported to have been used as housekeepers, earning little for themselves.
The Minister disclosed that their passports were seized by their Lebanese hosts, and through the help of international partners and Interpol, the Liberian Government has so far succeeded in rescuing the girls.
Minister Lighe said some of the perpetrators of such dehumanizing situation in Lebanon have been arrested by the Liberia National Police, in collaboration with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, and were awaiting prosecution by the Justice Ministry.