Labor Minister Wants Additional Safe Homes For Victims, Witnesses of Human Trafficking

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Labor Minister, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, has underscored the need for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia to collaborate in the setting up of additional safe homes for victims and witnesses of trafficking and illegal migration.

    Minister Gibson, who is also the Chairman of the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, said that the Taskforce is challenged with the issue of human trafficking, illegal migration and the repatriation of victims of these crimes, noting that most time victims are brought from other countries and, as such, before repatriation their security and wellbeing are paramount to the taskforce.

   He said that, in order to curtail the crime of human trafficking, prosecution of perpetrators must be successfully carried out, and in order to achieve that safe homes should be set up for victims as many of them are foreigners in distressed.

   “Human trafficking brings foreigners in your country through deception and misrepresentation. They are made vulnerable; as such, they need help and security. That’s one way we can partner. Because we need your help in this area to secure a place for victims of human trafficking until they can be repatriated to their country,” Minister Gibson stated.

   Minister Gibson was speaking on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 when the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Guinea and Liberia, Ana Fonseca, paid a courtesy call on him at his Labor Ministry office in Monrovia. The Liberian Labor Minister and Chairman of the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce informed the IOM Chief of Mission that, on many occasions, labor inspectors have identified several foreigners working with major concessions and other sectors without any documentation. “It is like cartel. The big boys know what they are here for; the small boys can be abandoned at any time, and when they are abandoned they become public responsibility,” he added.

   Cllr. Gibson maintained that the entry and exit of people into the country without proper documentation constitute illegal migration. He said that there is a need for IOM and the Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia to partner in curtailing the issue of illegal migration.

   “I agree with you when you said that migration is not a bad thing. Migration brings about development. Considering the amount of money being sent back by people who migrated to other parts of the world legally and are settled there. Millions of dollars wouldn’t have been coming to maintain lives and properties if they had not migrated to other countries,” Chairman Gibson noted.

   Minister Gibson further encouraged collaboration between the IOM and his ministry for the development of a database through which companies requesting for work permit for non-Liberians to occupy vacancies can be flagged through said database as a means of allowing qualified Liberians in other parts of the world opportunity to apply for jobs.

   He said that doing so Liberians will be given first preference for job vacancies in the country.

   For her part, the IOM Chief of Mission, Ana Fonseca, pledged her institution’s commitment to supporting the Taskforce and the Ministry of Labor in the areas of migration, mobility and trafficking of people as well as everything that comes with them.

   She said migration brings a lot of vulnerability and associated risk, lamenting the routes used and the way people are moved with no guidance in terms of their identity, documentation and legality. However, she said migration does not only bring vulnerability and risk; it also brings development and other good things as well.

    Fanseca used the occasion to thank the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labor for the level of sensitization and community awareness, which are helping to prevent Liberians, particularly the youth, from moving in just any risky way.

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