Fresh report coming from the city of Beirut, Lebanon says dozens of Liberian girls who were taken from Liberia by their Lebanese employers in that country has disclosed that many of them are currently languishing behind bars based of complain that they have informed their home Country Government of maltreatment being malted against them in that Country.
Our source speaking to the GNN via mobile phone from the Lebanese capitol, said her colleagues some of whom were maid sitters in the homes of their Lebanese employers have all been rounded up by police for linking out information to their home Government about the ill-treatment they are receiving in that Country.
Our source also said some of these Liberian ladies who have been sexually harassed in that Country have also been detained by that Country police authority.
Recently a local daily reported quoting one of the victims as saying “We were told by a Lebanese businessman called Abbas Debs, owner of the Speedo Printing Press in Monrovia that we were going to Lebanon to do business because his brother had a big business that needed workers. But when we arrived, different people who had paid US$ 3,500 for each girl, came for us at the airport to work as house girls and be used anyhow in their homes,” Muffittee Panma, one of the alleged victims lamented.
Twenty-five-year old Muffittee Panma who has been in Lebanon for a year narrated via mobile phone from Lebanon, that they are five girls who were contacted by a man in Liberia called Tamba Dixon Harris, who reportedly process their travel documents.
However, Muffittee said they are about 62 Liberian girls working and abused in Lebanon.
She noted that she is among many Liberian girls who have gone to seek greener pasture but ended up being used as sex slaves around the world; while their documents were reportedly seized to prevent them from returning home.
Even though human trafficking is a violation all over the world, according to the UN Universal Human Rights Law, many people still see it as a lucrative business.
According to the UN Report on trafficking, the most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. On the average, the victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls.
Surprisingly, in 30% of the countries which provided information on the gender of traffickers, women make up the largest proportion of traffickers. In some parts of the world, women's trafficking is a norm.
Back to Muffittee's narrative, she further alleged that when they arrived in Lebanon, they were told that they would work as house girls but when they refused and said it was not the arrangement, they were allegedly beaten and threatened.
“We were beaten and were told that if we did not work as house girls they will put us in jail and lie that we stole from them. Or they will kill us and tell our parents in Liberia that we were trying to run away and got involved in a car accident and died. So we had no option but started working without pay after telling us we were going to be paid US$250.00 monthly,” she narrated.
Muffittee also said the people they work for would tell them that they were bought US$3,500 each from one Bachear Lakis and that they could do anything they wanted to do with them.
“Bachear Lakis himself would take us to the mountain one at the time and put us at gun point and have sex with us. He has done it to me two times. He told me since I do not want the job as a house girl he would find a better job for me, but when I refused, he would put a gun to my head and threaten to kill me if I told anybody,” the alleged victim indicated.
However, Tamba Dixon Harris has denied the claim of recruiting the girls, but admitted being friendly with the Lebanese man called Bachear Lakis, who is accused of taking the girls to Lebanon.
“I do not have any influence to give anybody Visa to go Lebanon. But Bachear is my friend and he and I are not doing any business together,” Tamba clarified.
He continued: “The only part I did was I personally filled in the form at the Foreign Ministry for the girls' passports because it was not all of them who could read or write. But Bachear was the one who processed their documents and scanned their passports and sent them to Lebanon and they processed the Visas.”
He further narrated that a girl called Annie, who reportedly worked in Lebanon, came to Liberia to give birth and the girls asked her to connect them to work in Lebanon.
Accordingly, when they told him (Tamba) he promised to ask his friend Bachear if he could connect them. He said: “When I took them to Bachear Lakis he then took them to his Uncle Abbas Debs who owns the printing press in Buzzy Quarter and he (Abbas) told the girls he wanted girls who have had children because they were going to work as house maids and take care of children and not merry-make or go to school.”
When asked as to whether he knew the girls' passports were being confiscated and that they were not paid he replied: “According to Lebanon Labor Law, if anybody is taken to work, his or her passport is seized until that person pays back the entire travel expensive used to get him or her to Lebanon. The agreement is, if you work, they will cut money from your salary until they can get the money they spend for your travel expensive.”
Tamba also said when he spoke with his friend Bachear in Lebanon regarding the girls' passports, he (Bachear) told him that he was working on the girls getting their travel documents, but he needed two weeks to clear immigration.
Notwithstanding, UN report states that the second most common form of human trafficking is forced labor (18%); although this may be a misrepresentation because forced labor is less frequently detected and reported than trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Rema Nyepan, 24, is another girl trapped in Lebanon. She also alleged that Tamba is the main person who did their paper work at the Ministry of Health with a contact person only identified as Jerry, who allegedly encouraged the Liberian girls to go to Lebanon.
“Tamba is lying to say he does not know about our document, when Tamba was the one that took us to the airport and bribed a dark skin lady for us to leave Liberia. I do not know the lady's name but she even visited Lebanon. And Tamba is the main person who even encouraged the Lebanese man to do this business,” Rema further alleged.
Rema who is said to have been in Lebanon for a year and six months allegedly without pay, also said Bachear Lakis put gun to their heads and had sex with them and that he allegedly collected US$ 3,500 from the Lebanese people who abused them.
She said: “When we told Bachear Lakis that we do not want to work and we wanted to come back home, he threatened to kill us and send any amount of money to the Liberian Government because our government is corrupt.”
She also claimed that four other girls are now under gun point and are not allowed to leave or they would get killed.
“We ran away and stayed three weeks on the streets and slept in unfinished buildings because we did not know the place and anybody. It was God who directed us to UNHCR and a Liberian man called Bro Nelson who called the President of the Liberian Community and we were given to Ma Martha to cater for us. It is the Liberian Community that is feeding us and taking care of us,” she revealed.
Minutes after speaking following the mobile phone conversation, one of the girls called to say Abbas Debs had called and threatened to kill them when he travels to Lebanon next week.
“Abbas called and said he is a well known businessman and the government cannot do anything to him, and because we spoke to the press, he will kill us and bribe the government,” the girl alleged.
Abbas Debs' phone rang endlessly having dialed on several occasions. Neither Abbas nor Tamba was at the Sppedo Printing Press having visited the area.
Some anonymous employees at the printing press told this paper that both Tamba and Abbas had left. Tamba was again connected via mobile to speak with his boss of threats; he immediately hanged up on the journalist.
Also contacted, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, said Foreign Affairs Ministry was never informed about the situation, and that the ministry could not do much but the case should be taken to the Liberia National Police to investigate and the police will then inform the ministry to work along with the Ministry of Labor to find a way to solve the problem; something the Liberia National Police has promised to investigate.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Liberian Community in Lebanon, Morris Greene, has reportedly rescued the girls from the UNHCR office and taken them to seek refuge with a Liberian lady in Lebanon called Martha Dolo. Mr. Green was the person who sent the photos and information about the girls.
See attached brief information on the five girls in question:
1. Bernic Gbar –age: 25, came to Lebanon Nov.5 2011, worked 2 yrs and 8 months ( salary-75 per month) without pay, was beaten and abused sexually. parents from Grand Baasa County.
2. Muffitte Panma–age: 25, from Sinor County, came to Lebanon in August 27,2013, worked 1 year without pay ( salary 250).
3. Grace David— from Nimba age 25, came to Lebanon and worked from Nov.15, 2012 to August 2014 without salary 250 promised and was badly beaten and was help by the Liberian Community in Lebanon.
4. Rema Nyepan– from Maryland, age 24, arrived in Beirut August 17, 2013. Worked 1 year and 5 months without salary 250 that was promised her, she was beated in the eyes when ask for the salary.
5. Ayres Jasper— from Maryland, age 21, came to Lebanon Jan.17, 2013. Worked 1 year and 7 months without salary (250). Boss abused her sexually with videoing activities.
Credit: In Profile