Liberia: U.S. Rewards Liberia's 'Steadfast Willingness to Tackle Human Trafficking'

According to the U.S. Embassy Monrovia, the Government of Liberia has increased investigations, identification of victims, and provided budgetary support to anti-trafficking efforts. (Photo: IDLO)

Elevates country to to Tier 2 Watch List

The U.S. Embassy near Monrovia has released its 2020 Trafficking in Persons Country Report for Liberia and announced that it (Liberia) has been elevated to Tier 2 after three years on Tier 2 Watch List.

Tier 2 as set by the U.S. State Department represents countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Liberia being on Tier 2 watch list for three years means that the government could not fully comply with the TVPA's minimum standards, but was making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the standards.

With this progress, the U.S. Embassy said it is "Pleased to release the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report for Liberia and to announce that the Government of Liberia has demonstrated sufficient progress to be elevated to Tier 2 after three years of Tier 2 Watch list, as determined by the U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons." According to the U.S. Embassy, this outcome reflects the dedicated efforts of the Government of Liberia to fight human trafficking, as well as the achievements possible through U.S.-Liberia partnership.

In testimonial praise, the U.S. Embassy noted that over the past two years, the government has shown a steadfast willingness to tackle the problem of human trafficking, especially domestic forced labor of children by "Reinvigorating" the Trafficking in Persons Task Force led by the Ministry of Labor.

It added that the government has increased investigations, identification of victims, and provided budgetary support to anti-trafficking efforts. "These successes required the sustained cooperation of investigators, prosecutors, law enforcement officers and trainers, and Labor officials, and show that even under difficult circumstances when resources appear scarce, the public sector and civil society can work together to protect citizens and promote accountability," the Embassy's release notes.

The Embassy went further to acknowledge that, "The Embassy would like to congratulate the Ministry of Labor for coordinating the efforts of the Trafficking in Persons Task Force, while also offering special recognition to the sustained efforts of partners in the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, the Liberia Immigration Service, the Liberia National Police, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, the Ministry of Justice, and the LNP Transnational Crimes Unit."

The Embassy also acknowledged civil society organizations for their active involvement in reporting potential trafficking cases and coordinating services for potential victims, especially the Community Watch Forum, Defence for Children International, Orphan Relief and Rescue; THINK Liberia, World Hope International, and YWCA Liberia.

It can be recalled that in 2019 U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking-in-Persons, John Cotton Richmond, visited Liberia and met with President George Weah along with key members of his cabinet, who pledged support for increased efforts against human trafficking.

"The support has encouraged police, immigration, and border officials to investigate possible crimes, social workers to place child victims in shelters, and prosecutors to take up cases," the Embassy's release said, adding, "These are important steps, and the Embassy looks forward to working alongside the member agencies of the Trafficking-in-Persons Task Force as they continue to improve their ability to combat human trafficking and child labor."

At the point of Tier 2, Liberia has the opportunity to work hard to ascend to Tier 1 that is the category of countries whose governments are fully in compliance with the TVPA, or by complacency and relaxation in taking concrete actions slip down to Tier 2 Watch List and subsequently to Tier 3 category that has countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

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