Liberia: Labor Ministry Takes Human Trafficking Awareness to Grand Cape Mount County

Sinje — The Ministry of Labor in collaboration with the Defense for Children International and USAID on July 29 launched an interactive engagement with residents of the county, explaining how residents can help report cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP).

Grand Cape Mount County continues to experience suspected cases of human trafficking with the Liberia Immigration Services saying that people are allegedly trafficked from neighboring Sierra Leone.

This prompted the Ministry of Labor and partners to consider increasing awareness in that part of country.

Deputy Labor Minister Atty. Phil Tarpeh Dixon and Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation Atty. Wesseh A. Wesseh in separate remarks told residents of Sinji Town that the fight to eradicate human trafficking should not be left with the government alone.

Minister Dixon noted that the community's involvement is crucial because the crime is being perpetrated in the communities.

And Atty. Wesseh said it is important for community members to lead the awareness so that they can alert government agencies when there are suspected incidents of human trafficking happening in their communities.

"Once you see a child, who was brought for schooling, all around the street selling and not even in school, report the case to us," Atty. Wesseh said.

Atty. Wesseh added that the Ministry of Justice is leading the government's response against TIPs and have prosecuted several suspects, but explained dthat community members have to be aware that not all TIPs cases will be won by government because the court makes the last decision.

Atty. Wesseh furthered encouraged other ministries and agencies to work cooperatively in ensuring that all cases of human trafficking are speedily tried.

Participants at the dialogue also expressed concerns about the fear of reporting suspected cases of Trafficking in Persons.

A representative of the Child Welfare Committee, Vivian Kamara, lamented that it is risky for anyone to report such a matter in Grand Cape Mount County due to cultural practices.

"Parents themselves or transporters personally attack people who go to advise them against their involvement with Trafficking in Persons," Kamara said, adding that some people in the county are unknowingly involved with human trafficking.

Ishmael Kpeah, Director for Migration at the Liberia Immigrants Service, said the number of suspected TIPs cases recorded shows that curbing human trafficking is crucial for the government.

Kpeah also complained of interference in their movement to track down suspected perpetrators, adding that many people, suspected of being trafficked, are brought into the country from Sierra Leone because of the porous border situation.

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