Liberia, Oman Hold Preliminary Discussions On The Protection Of Liberian Ladies Human Trafficked In Oman
A high-power delegation of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, headed by Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is expected to meet with the Omani government next month on the safety of Liberian ladies in that Arab Golf Nation.
Speaking via a zoom meeting Thursday in Monrovia with the Omani Labor Minister, Dr. Mahan bin Said bin Ali Baawain, Liberia Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson said his office continues to receive too many complaints of the ill-treatment of Liberian ladies in Oman, including sexual abuse, demand for Ransoms, brutality, disappearances, false imprisonment, unpaid salaries, etc which amount to modern-day slavery and acute violation of a Nation-state’s international obligation to protect foreigners within its border.
Minister Gibson further expressed concern that despite a commitment made by the Omani Government to the Liberian Government in September of last year not to grant visas to Liberian ladies seeking domestic employment in Oman the flow of Liberian ladies from Liberia and neighboring countries to Oman continues unabated.
Minister Gibson acknowledged that the situation is largely caused by some criminal gangs and individuals operating undercovered from both countries but observed that the Omani government is not doing much to arrest the situation.
He noted that the Liberian government will like to sit with the Omani government in resolving the issues and put the situation under control for both countries’ mutual interests.
Minister Gibson further disclosed that a low-income country like Liberia has spent nearly Three Million United States Dollars over the last few years to combat human trafficking, which is causing serious strain on its budget to have those victims rescued, repatriated, rehabilitated, and resettled.
He stressed the need for the Omani government to create a safe environment for the Liberian Ladies while the process of dialogue is taking place between the two countries.
In response, the Omani Labor Minister Dr. Mahad bin Said bin Ali Baawain promised to work with the Omani Foreign Ministry to receive the Liberian delegation in February to sit on the dialogue table to put things under control for the interest of both countries.
Dr. Baawain expressed regrets that the issue of human trafficking has affected the bilateral relationship between the two countries and committed to working closely with Liberia to identify and root up criminal gang operatives in both countries that are fueling the situation.
He also promised to have the Omani security forces more focused on protecting Liberian ladies in Oman.
He alluded to the inflows of Liberian ladies to Oman despite the visa ban on those ladies transiting through third countries and using foreign travel documents to enter Oman.
Meanwhile, it was agreed that modalities will be a workout to ensure that the Liberian delegation visits Oman in the middle of February (next month).
The delegation will be headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and composed of the Ministers of Labor, Justice, and Gender.
The delegation will be expected to spend three days in Oman which visit will include a meeting with the Liberian community in Oman, presentations, and discussions of a 102-page complaint complied by the UNODC and Liberian security apparatus, ensure that actions are taken by the Omani Government to arrest and prosecute the culprits to serve as deterrence.
The Liberian delegation will also receive and discuss proposals from the Omani government on issues of an MOU to ensure the protection of Liberians working in or seeking to work in Oman, the establishment of diplomatic relationships between both countries, and other bilateral interest areas.
A high-power delegation from the Government of Oman will later this year be visiting Liberia to further strengthen bilateral relationships, including economic and investment opportunities.
The zoom meeting was facilitated by Liberia’s Foreign Minister who is himself a member of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce.