U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Liberia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Liberia, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3c1c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]|
Liberia (Tier 2)
Liberia is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Most victims are trafficked within the country from rural areas to urban areas for domestic servitude or other forms of child labor. Displaced children in Liberia were subjected to sexual exploitation by members of international organizations, NGO personnel, and Liberian citizens. There have been reports of children trafficked to Liberia from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire and from Liberia to The Gambia, Guinea, and Nigeria for domestic servitude, street vending, sexual exploitation, and agricultural labor. Awareness of trafficking in Liberia is nascent and no concrete data exists. While there have been reports of orphanages and adoption agencies involved in child trafficking, most appear to be cases of fraudulent adoption rather than trafficking.
The Government of Liberia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. A 14-year civil war has crippled the country's infrastructure and destroyed government institutions, including the judiciary. In January 2006, a new government was installed after more than two years of transitional rule with heavy oversight by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). To strengthen its trafficking response, Liberia should increase prosecution efforts, establish a formal system of victim referral to NGOs and international organizations for care, and adopt and begin to implement its draft national action plan to combat trafficking.
The Government of Liberia has initiated modest efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement during the past year. Liberia prohibits all forms of trafficking through its June 2005 Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons. The Women's and Children's Protection Section (WCPS) of the Liberian National Police (LNP) works with the UN Police (UNPOL) to respond to trafficking cases. Of four trafficking cases investigated by police during the year, only one suspected trafficker was charged. The government did not report whether this case was prosecuted. In March 2007, the LNP arrested three men and charged them for attempting to steal and sell a 12-year-old boy in what may be a case of child trafficking. Police lack vehicles to transport suspects and often rely on UNPOL to assist them. The LNP participates in UNMIL- and UNPOL-sponsored anti-trafficking training events. WCPS recruits receive additional, more specialized international organization-sponsored training. The Ministry of Labor, the IRC and a local NGO organized a three-day workshop for labor inspectors and other government officials to increase their capacity to combat exploitative child labor.
The Government of Liberia made limited efforts to protect trafficking victims during the year. The government lacks the resources to provide assistance to victims, but an informal referral process is in place between the LNP and a few NGOs who provide short-term victim care. In December 2006, the government cooperated with Guinean officials to rescue a young Guinean girl trafficked to Liberia. The government does not encourage victims, all of whom are children, to assist in trafficking investigations or prosecutions. Liberia does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. In the few reported trafficking cases since the 2005 law was passed, the government ensured that identified victims were not inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized solely for unlawful acts as a direct result of being trafficked.
The Government of Liberia took some steps to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. In October 2006, the president appointed members of a government Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force that has met twice and appointed a secretariat. The task force is responsible for developing and implementing a national action plan to combat trafficking and is reviewing a draft action plan developed by a prior, informal ad-hoc anti-trafficking task force. The Ministry of Gender, with support from the international community, launched a national campaign to raise awareness about sexual exploitation and abuse.