The Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU), Madam Madina Wesseh on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of National Anti-Human Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson at his Labour Ministry in Monrovia.
Discussion between the two centered around the increase wave of human trafficking in the MRU Sub-region and the holding of a mini summit on Trafficking In-Persons in Liberia.
Minister Gibson informed the MRU Secretary General that the MRU bloc has realized that the fight against human trafficking cannot be carried out by a single country, but rather in a coordinated and recognized form by member countries of the MRU.
In reference to the mini summit to be held in Liberia to discuss issues relating to the fight in the Sub-region, Minister Gibson said three International Organizations have expressed willingness to sponsor the summit which is scheduled to be held early this year in Monrovia. Minister named the three organizations as: the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
Minister Gibson encouraged the MRU Authorities to take lead on the mini-summit as a means of ensuring that it is successfully held and meet its intended objectives.
Speaking of efforts being made by the Taskforce in the fight in Liberia, Minister Gibson said that there are several ongoing TIP cases in Montserrado, Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Lofa Counties.
He informed the MRU Secretary General of the presence of a criminal cartel Q-Net, involved in human trafficking in the sub-region, but is claiming to be selling online products.
The Minister further informed Madam Wesseh that the United States Government Global TIP Report on Liberia requires the Government of Liberia to achieve the following recommendations: 1) Vigorously prosecute traffickers and convict them; 2) Reform the 2005 Law to Ban Human Trafficking in Liberia to meet international Standards; and 3) Provide victims supports and protections. He said that the Government of Liberia has amended the law and hired the services of ten local NGO’s to carry out awareness campaign on human trafficking in the 15 counties. Also that three human Trafficking cases have recently been won in courts in Montserrado and Gbarpolu counties, and that a second safe home is being established with adequate psychosocial support.
For her part, the MRU Secretary General informed Minister Gibson that development partners have equally expressed their concerns on the illegal movement of people in the sub-region.
Madam Wesseh proposed to Minister of Labour that the planned mini-summit of Ministers of Labour of MRU States and all relevant stakeholders and partners should be done in collaboration with MRU Authorities.
She also informed Minister Gibson that Guinea is technically the current chair of the MRU and that Ivory Coast is now a member country. She noted that the MRU will provide all necessary guidance and support to ensure the successful planning and execution of the mini-summit which is be scheduled for early February this year.
In closing, Madam Wesseh suggested that at the end of the summit, MRU member states should have a TIP awareness communique and issue a joint protocol.