World Hope International or WHI has strongly condemned human trafficking in Liberia and the world at large. WHI says the act should not be taken for granted, because it endangers victims’ lives, who are mostly women and children.
Speaking over the weekend at a one-day workshop for media practitioners, the Program Manager for World Hope International Mr. Wellington Kollie said, the essence of the workshop is to educate journalists how to report on human trafficking whenever its occurs.
He said human trafficking is not limited to Liberia, but something that happens to every woman and child around the world. The WHI executive pointed out that many people suffer from human trafficking, but women and children are mostly victims, noting that though the act cannot be stopped, by conducting workshops and seminars to sensitize community dwellers and media professionals, it would help to curtail the practice.
He said educating media practitioners who provide accurate and balance information will educate the public about human trafficking issues. Mr. Kollie said the exercise was intended to empower the media to help spread the message to the public, particularly to those who overlook the act.
He added that journalists have been taught how to report on human trafficking, including what kind of questions to ask a victim, and how to protect confidentiality of victims, saying “These are things that our people need to understand.” Mr. Kollie said the idea of media professionals protecting victims’ confidentiality is to ensure they do not experience further threats, and violence as a result of seeking assistance from others.
“When a programmer serving a survivor of human trafficking breaks confidentiality, particular information about that survivor can easily get into the wrong hands”, he added.
He said if the information gets into the hands of perpetrators, or other adversaries in the community, the consequences could be devastating, explaining that when confidentiality is broken, both survivors and caretakers are at further risks of harm.
According to him, confidentiality is one of the essential elements that lead to increased sense of security for survivors. The WHI executive pointed out that human trafficking has three main elements: Act, Means, and Purpose.
He noted the Act component includes recruitment, transportation or transfer by giving or receiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, while Means is threat or coercion or use of force abduction, kidnapping or abuse of a position of vulnerability, and Purpose is the use of slavery, or forced labour of service, prostitution or the illicit removal of human organs.
Meanwhile, the program manager says WHI is a global organization that has branches in 30 countries around the world with two in West Africa mainly Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to him, the institution was founded in 1996, and launched its activities here in 1999, was constrained to shut down due to the civil crisis. “We are back and our activities here in Liberia, we are considering education, health, building wells, training teachers, and sponsoring students, among others.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne