LIBERIA: Labour Minister Kollie Recommit Stepping up Fight Against Human Trafficking in Liberia

Minister of Labour, Moses Yarkpazuo Kollie and Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia

The Chairman of Anti Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Hon. Chief Moses Y. Kollie says Liberia’s determination in stepping up the fight against Human Trafficking was not only because Liberia was at the verge of losing some bilateral supports from its partner the USA, rather, Liberia being a Member State among the comity of nations that have signed on to many international conventions and protocols, including its own domestic law enacted in 2005 to ban Human Trafficking in Liberia.

He said Liberia is willing to continue stepping up the fight against Trafficking In Persons (TIP) with supports of our local and international partners; especially the US Government.

“The Administration of President Weah inherited the fight against Trafficking In Persons (TIP) in Liberia at Tier 2 Watch List through the National Taskforce headed by the MOL in 2018. However, Liberia being a signatory to many international protocols and conventions in the world that ban Trafficking In Persons (TIP) both local and internationally, and being in strong partnership with the US Government in the fight against Trafficking In Persons (TIP); this administration, within its first two (2) years of service as a government under the able leadership of President Weah, developed serious interest in stepping up the fight against Trafficking In Persons (TIP) with concerted efforts of our local and international partners especially, the US Government through its Embassy here in Liberia.”

Minister Kollie made these assertions on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at a joined Press Conference by the National Anti-Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Taskforce and United States Embassy near Monrovia held on the ground-floor of the Ministry of Labour, Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Monrovia.

The TIP Taskforce Chairman has with authorization and consent of H. E. President Dr. George M. Weah, recommit government’s consistent determination in stepping up the fight against Human Trafficking in Liberia. He further promised that there will be funding provided through a special budget line within the upcoming FY 2020/2021 approved budget for the work of the National Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking. “However, we wish to request that you kindly buttress the efforts of our national government by providing more supports in the areas of training for LIS Officers, MOL Inspectors, LNP Officers, TIP case prosecutions, provide some logistics for borders patrols, etc. for the so purpose of getting the Taskforce to be more robust.

Again, thanks for the existing partnership Your Excellency and wish to inform you that we are not going to be complacent with our present achievement at Tier 2 evidenced by our continued regular monthly TIP Meetings through Zoom visual system due to the present global COVID-19 pandemic. We will redouble our determination in demonstrating that we can minimize if not, eliminate any form of Human Trafficking in Liberia through our partnership.”

Minister Kollie on behalf of the National Taskforce on Anti-Human Trafficking in Liberia; inclusive of the MOL as Chair, MOJ as Co-Chair, MOFA, MOGC&SP MIA, MOH, LIS and LNP as Statutory Members; our Local & International Partners, the Taskforce Secretariat wishes to thank the US Government through its Embassy in Liberia for the continued supports over the years in getting us to where we are today as a country in the fight against Trafficking In Persons, which is not only limited to financial; but rather, through constant engagement, consultations, guidance and encouragement.

Earlier, Madam Alyson Grunder has congratulated Liberia on being elevated to a Tier 2 country in the Fight Against Human and forced Child Labour. She said that this achievement reflects what is possible through U.S.-Liberia partnership noting “we’ve been here, we’re still here, working together.”

She said this outcome is the result of two years of sustained hard work the government of Liberia showed by increasing efforts against trafficking by developing a new National Action Plan (NAP), allotting for the first time since 2014 a budget for the Trafficking in Persons Task Force, increasing investigations and increasing the identification of victims.

The U.S. States Department Trafficking in Persons report, released last Wednesday, highlights Liberia’s efforts to stop domestic trafficking of children for forced child labour and street selling. “There is more work to be done, but these successes are testament to what is possible, even when resources are scare”.

Madam Grunder said trafficking and forced child Labour remain a serious problems, and should not rest on our laurels nothing that “As Minister Kollie recently said we should not complacent, but redouble our efforts”.

Madam Grunder noted that the United States Embassy will continue to support Liberia efforts in the area by sponsoring training for law enforcement personnel, advising prosecutors, and working with the Ministry of Labour to stop child Labour.

She however recounted that in September 2019, the U. S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and combat Trafficking in Persons John Cotton Richmond visited Liberia, and met with H. E. George Manneh Weah, along with key members of his Cabinet. President Weah committed his support to effort, saying, “the children of Liberia are future, they are not anyone’s property,” and, “I will do everything I can to make sure they are not trafficked within or outside Liberia”. We are now seeing results of that sustained support. Let keep that momentum going.

She further noted that the Tier 2 ranking is an important recognition of your work to date, but our efforts cannot stop. The Embassy looks forward to working alongside the member agencies of the Trafficking in Persons Taskforce as they continue to improve their ability to combat human Trafficking and child labour.

Other members of  Taskforce who attended the event and presented special statements on behalf of their respective Agencies were: Madam Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, Minister , Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cllr. Deweh Gray, Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Minstry Of Foreign Affairs;  Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Litigation and Atty. Abraham Michell, representing the Minister of Justice;

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About Cholo Brooks 14907 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.