LIBERIA: Minister Gibson Receives Commendations On Fight Against Human Trafficking And Ongoing Reforms In Labour Sector…

The Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Force of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has been commended by local and international partners in the fight against human trafficking in Liberia for his effective leadership role played in coordinating the activities of the taskforce in combating trafficking in persons in the country.

The partners, which includes the US Embassy near Monrovia, IDLO, WinRock International, IMO, World Hope, Defense for Children, amongst others. These organizations said that they are impressed over the efforts that have been applied by Cllr. Gibson and the Taskforce in the fight to reduce or bring to an end human trafficking in Liberia.

The partners made specific reference to the recent amendment of portion of the Human Trafficking Law of Liberia which has been very difficult to achieve in many years by past administrations and the news of the arrest of many traffickers and cases now being reported in recent times.

The partners pledged their individual commitment to working with the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce and the Ministry of Labour in ensuring that human trafficking and child labour cases are brought to the attention of the taskforce and the perpetrators are made to account for their actions.

The partners were speaking at the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce meeting which was held in-person for the first time in four months due to the outbreak of the COVID-19. The meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Labour on Friday, October 1, 2021, brought together local and international partners and it was attended for the first time by members of the Religious Community including the Muslims and Christians leaders who promised to take the message of trafficking to their respective places of worship and community.

The representatives of the religious community also thanked the Minister of Labour for the latest development in the labour sector of the country; noting that “All we knew about the Ministry of Labour  was a place to bring labour complaints, but today we are hearing about a lot of responsibilities that are being carried out by this Ministry, especially in the areas of job creations, disputes settlement, promotion of decent work, TIP, Child Labour and amongst others. We want to commend you and your team for these achievements in a very short period of time and pray that God will guide you and give you strength in carrying out your duties.”

In response, the Chairman of the Taskforce, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, attributed the gains and successes being made in the fight against human trafficking in Liberia to all members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce and the President of the Republic of Liberia for his level of commitment and support to the work of the taskforce.

“I want to thank the President of the Republic of Liberia for his many supports.”

He informed the partners that most of the financial supports coming from the government to the taskforce are personally ordered by the President to enhance the working of the taskforce.

Minister Gibson also used the opportunity to hail the contributions of the US Embassy in Liberia, IDOL, IMO and other international partners for their tireless support and collaboration with the taskforce in taking actions to end trafficking in Liberia.

He spoke of some of the many achievements the taskforce has made since the release of the US Government 2021 Human Trafficking Report on Liberia, such as the amendment to the Trafficking Law of Liberia, and the hiring of eight Lawyers for the speedy handling of trafficking cases.  He said that the newly amended portion of the law has been signed by the President of Liberia and we are now waiting to be printed in Handbill.

The Chairman of the Taskforce on Human Trafficking in Liberia further told members of the taskforce and partners that the major focus of the taskforce now is awareness, victims support, prosecutions and the establishment of additional Safe-homes for victims and witnesses of trafficking and child labou; noting that “Establishing a safe-home is easy, but maintaining it is a challenge.” He further outlined some of the difficulties in caring for the current safe-home being managed by the Taskforce.

Minister Gibson told the meeting that the TIP Taskforce is getting a lot of support, but noted that more work needs to be done with the police in the area of criminal investigations. He said that the police have proposed the setting up of special a unit for TIP which will comprise of major security agencies including the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), DEA, etc.

Speaking further of the support from the Government of Liberia to the TIP fight, Minister Gibson said government has approved the procurement of fifteen motorcycles for the Ministry of Labour of which five will be dedicated to TIP operations.

In closing, Cllr. Gibson informed the partners and members of the Taskforce that a consultant has been hired to develop a child labour law by looking at the culture of our society, research papers, international instruments and the laws of Liberia.

Signed: Joseph K. Nyandibo/Director of Communications/MOL

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