LIBERIA: IOM Conducts Seminar On Strengthening GOL On Protection Assistance To Victims Of TIP…

Madam Ana Fonseca

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for Guinea and Liberian Madam Ana Fonseca has congratulated the Government of Liberia for the effort been made in the fight against human trafficking.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day seminar on Supporting the Government of Liberia in Strengthening their Protection Assistance to victims of Trafficking on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, being held at the Boulevard Hotel in Monrovia, Madam Fanseca said the only way to combat organized crime on trafficking is to be better organized than trafficker themselves, meaning that it is very important for everyone to work together with a cordial understanding of the way forward and communicate without barrier among the partners so that they are organized and powerful to battle trafficking.

She emphasized that counter-trafficking is a key priority for IMO and the Government of Liberia and there is a need to support the victims including work of the partners working to support victims of trafficking and the work being done to better the situation that is continue growing around the world; continues transforming itself depending on international, national, and local context.

The IOM Regional Director applauded the United States Government for providing funding for the training program and the work IOM currently doing in Liberia to support victims of trafficking they have identified and to support the work of the National Anti-Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia.

She also commended the effort of the US Government for the practical effort intense of looking into bigger areas of support and policies being frontline against trafficking.

Also speaking, Labour Minister Charles H. Gibson conveyed his appreciation to the US Embassy, the IOM and other partners from various entities presented at the occasion.

For his Part, the Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson said when it comes to victims’ protection as regards to trafficking and migrant issues, safe homes are first considered noting that “when victims are rescued, how do they get repatriated, resettle, and reintegrated is what the training is about.”

He called on participants to take training very important event to invest time, knowledge and contribute to advancing the process of trafficking.

Speaking further, Minister Gibson urged all to make contributions to enriching the engagement, ensuring those in the vanguard of protecting victims have tools, strategies, resources to ensure that people are not just protected, as part of effort to put their odds behind and move with their lives as normal people in society. He maintained that it is against this backdrop that such forum be organized to ensure all partners share knowledge, to identify resources for the protection of this group always found in society.

He used the occasion to inform the participants that fifty women brought back from Oman are currently being trained with entrepreneurship noting that “It is important that when victims are repatriated, you make effort to ensure that they are reintegrated in society”.

According to him, the reintegration is provided through the support of the IOM and the United States Government with lot of resources from the Liberian Government. He said those first fifty girls who came from Oman are being trained in various aspects of entrepreneurship, their ego and psychosocial determination will be sustaining and each of them will be given a reintegration package of US$1,500.00.

He thanked IOM, US Embassy, partners, and the GOL for not bringing the girls in the country and dump them but providing opportunities to startup their lives which is all part of the protection mechanism.

Minister Gibson added that the Taskforce currently has four safe-homes and is setting up two additional through the assistance of the IOM and those safe-homes are being equipped with modern facilities to dignify the victims. “When victim of trafficking arrive at the airport, there are vehicle that pick them up from the airport to the safe-home before the Ministry of Health take charge and make sure they go through complete medical evaluation and the Ministry of Justice also takes to collect their statements while the Ministry of Internal Affairs make sure their family are located and are willing to accept them back.”

He concluded that most of the victims are females and as such the role of the Ministry of Gender needs not be emphasis saying that is coordination.

For his part, Acting Solicitor General, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh said most of the human trafficking cases that can go court does not have support from sectors or victims when its comes to the procurement of witnesses.  He said prosecutor, sometimes used personal funds or resources to ensure that witnesses are in court. According to him, most of the TIP cases victims are the prime witness and if supports are not provided, the victims or witnesses to go court and testify, it means as prosecutor, you have no case.

Cllr. Wesseh indicated that victims support, and protection are very cardinal when it comes to prosecution of cases for the Ministry of Justice.

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