LIBERIA: Trafficking Taskforce Concerns About Mass Exodus Of Liberian Students To Foreign Countries

Labour Minister, Charlie Gibson

The Chairman of the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has constituted a committee to investigate report of many Liberian students been processed in recent months for Scholarship opportunities to foreign countries without knowledge of the Ministry of Education and the Government of Liberia.

The Chairman of the Taskforce action follows a communication from the Ministry of Education to the Taskforce concerning the mass exodus of young Liberian Students from the country to foreign countries, particularly to Eastern European countries for the purpose of obtaining higher education.

According to the communication to the Minister of Labour and Chairman of Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce signed by the Minister of Education, Professor D. Ansu Sonii “I extent profound compliments, and bring to your attention with urgency, information received by the Ministry of Education as reported by a number of student groups and individuals, that many Liberian students have been processed in recent months for scholarship opportunities to foreign countries with absolutely no prior knowledge of the Ministry of Education and Government of Liberia. Given the recent history of young Liberian Women trafficked to Lebanon under the pretext of providing employment opportunities, I request that you kindly intervene in this matter expeditiously and preferably, convene a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Trafficking to discuss the remedies designed to avoid potential risk to would be victims and safeguard the integrity of the Nation in such regard.”

The communication when further to say “While the right of free movement is available to all person, the character of the movements covered by the concern of the Ministry of Education may likely have been intended outside of the protection of the law.”

The communication was opened for discussion at the Regular Monthly National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskfoce Meeting held at the Ministry of Labour on Friday, April 30, 2021 by members of the Taskforce; at which time, Minister Gibson assured the Ministry of Education of the Taskforce commitment to expeditiously address the concerned and potential risk to would be victims and safeguard the integrity of the nation.

The Minister thanked the Ministry of Education for bringing to the attention of the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce about the mass departure from the country of young Liberian Students to foreign countries and promised a prompt intervention by the Taskforce.

He described the Ministry of Education decision to bring to the attention of the Taskforce such a national security issue as an early warning is not just commendable, but the right step in the right direction noting that it has placed the Government of Liberia in the position to address said concern.

Members of the committee include: the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Defense for Children International (DCI), Samaritan Purse, Rescue Women Liberia, Salvation Army and International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Trafficking Taskforce, Labour Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has thanked both local and international NGOs including the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), for their continuous coordination and support in the fight against human trafficking in Liberia.

He admonished international partners operating in the country to continue with their support to enhance the work of local institutions in the fight to reduce human trafficking nothing that “The fight against human trafficking can only be won through collaborative efforts by all partners including local and international.

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