Home Editorial War Against Trafficking Crimes: Our Challenge to Government

War Against Trafficking Crimes: Our Challenge to Government

by News Manager

Recently, the Government of the United States released its 2022 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report on Liberia, highlighting efforts and challenges by the Liberian government for the elimination of Trafficking in Persons.

Specifically, the report said, “the Government of Liberia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.”

The US Government, in said report stressed that the Liberian government, “demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Liberia remained on Tier 2.”

According to the Report, these efforts by the Liberian government included prosecuting and convicting an official complicit in human trafficking and identifying more victims and referring them to services.”

Commenting on challenges that Liberia faces in prosecuting the war against Trafficking in Persons, the US Government, in said Report, made it known that Liberia did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

The Report expounded that “Investigations decreased and law enforcement officials continued to lack adequate resources and understanding of trafficking to effectively investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes” and that “Victim services, especially shelter, remained insufficient.”

To enable Monrovia address the chain of Trafficking in Persons challenges that it now faces, a number of key recommendations has been advanced to the Government of Liberia (GOL), which we, at The ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT, think should be accorded much attention and appropriately acted upon.

The Report recommended that the Government of Liberia should expand victim services – particularly for victims outside the capital, males, and victims requiring long-term care.

Liberia has also been encouraged to increase efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, including those involving internal trafficking, sex trafficking, related criminal networks, and officials accused of complicity.

Another salient recommendation contained in the Report requires Monrovia to train labor inspectors and social workers on standard victim identification procedures and the national referral mechanism,
Improve collaboration between anti-trafficking police units, immigration, labor, and judicial authorities and to increase financial or in-kind support to NGOs that support trafficking victims.

As if these significant recommendations were not enough, the Liberian Nation has been requested by the United States to train law enforcement and judicial officials on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases under the revised 2021 anti-trafficking law, increase labor inspections in the informal sector and mining regions to improve identification of trafficking cases, including child forced labor as well as to increase efforts to raise public awareness of human trafficking, internal trafficking, just to mention a few.

Although we are fully aware that implementation of the enumerated challenges requires funding, logistical and other necessary support, we, at The INDEPENDENT are calling on the Liberian authorities to rise to the challenge by exploring all possibilities aimed at addressing these issues through increased budgetary allotments in sector areas and to engage key development partners for much-needed logistical, funding and other essential support.

We say this simply because we believe that the fulfillment and /or implementation of these measures may have far-reaching positive impacts for the Liberia Nation and in strengthening and enhancing its collaboration and cooperation with other Nations that are involved in the raging war against Trafficking in Persons, Sex Trafficking, and other related criminal networks.

This is why we are also challenging the Liberian Government to allocate increased financial and in-kind resources to the national anti-trafficking Task Force to successfully carry out its statutory responsibilities.

Moreover, the 2021 Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in
Persons within the Republic of Liberia criminalized all forms of sex and labor trafficking, and prescribed minimum sentences of 20 years imprisonment, which were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as kidnapping.

The Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons Within the Republic of Liberia amended the 2005 Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons and brought Liberia’s trafficking laws in line with international law and or/ international best practices.

This is also why we, at The INDEPENDENT, also think that the government and people of Liberia must ensure that laws bordering on Trafficking in Persons, Sex Trafficking and other related crimes must be identified, and those involved made to face the full weight of the law without any fear or favor.

We further suggest that any funding that may be generated by the central government or from any international development partners aimed at decisively addressing Trafficking in Persons, Sex Trafficking and related crimes must be fully utilized for their intended purposes and in an atmosphere of transparency, accountability and probity to maintain much-needed public trust and confidence as regards the war against trafficking and related crimes.
Last, not least, we crave the demonstration of the necessary Political Will in achieving these goals in the best interest of the country whether rain or shine

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