U.S. Assistance To Liberia At Risk, If…

        For a country totally hooked on begging for almost everything it needs to survive to include security, should always be manful to strictly adhere to salient requirements attached to what is given it from friendly nations to beef up its sustainability and run a civilized government based on the internationally best accepted practice.

Being cognizant of such existing reality, and until the government can move to another advanced level wherein it can practically manage its own affairs including the expectations of the people to a larger extend, with independent posture, such nation should reflect the binding desire of the giver, because one who sees favor always speaks in a low tone, and to be trusted and considered for more assistance, it is fair enough to abide by the term of why the help was provided.

      However, latest news that Liberia is not doing well in its trafficking in person (TIP) campaign does not send any good signal to those spending heavily their taxpayers’ money for Liberia to get over such scourge and arrive somewhere praiseworthy in our quest to be known as a decent and respected people and country.

       Moreover, it is preposterous that members of the Liberian Legislature are sending out a loud and clear message that human trafficking here is not their priority, as observes by the United States Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Michael McCarthy.

Amb. McCarthy pointed out that it is troubling that the Lawmakers could be sending that message loud and clear by their silence on Trafficking In Person (TIP), while the Executive and Judicial branches have been left to face the challenge in dealing with matters of Trafficking in Person.

According to him, the silence of the Liberian Legislators on the issues regarding TIP is putting millions of dollars in United States assistance to this impoverished country at risk.

“The failure to make these changes or even to engage seriously in conversation about an amendment, puts millions of dollars in U.S. assistance to Liberia at risk,” Amb. McCarthy said Monday, August 2, 2021at the Temple of Justice when he donated a Bench Book to the Judiciary that will guide judges and magistrates of Liberia in dealing with issues on Trafficking in Person.

It can be recalled that in the July 1, 2021 US State Department report on Liberia on Trafficking In Person (TIP) it was recorded that Liberia has failed to move up rather got stuck to Tier 2.

The TIP Report is the world’s most comprehensive resource of government anti-trafficking efforts—including our own—and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights, law enforcement, and national security issue. In 2020, Liberia was elevated to Tier 2. This year, however, the report downgraded Liberia to the Tier 2 Watch List.

The report determines that the Government of Liberia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking—the requirement for a country to be ranked as Tier 1—but it is making efforts to do so. These efforts included opening a new shelter for child trafficking victims, initiating an investigation into a high-profile labor trafficking case in cooperation with foreign governments, and allocating funding to NGOs to conduct awareness raising campaigns.

However, the Government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity. The Government identified fewer victims, initiated fewer investigations, prosecuted fewer defendants, and did not sentence any traffickers. Law enforcement officials still lack adequate resources and understanding of human trafficking to effectively investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes. Shelter services for victims remained insufficient, and the Government did not provide support to NGOs caring for victims. For these reasons, Liberia was downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List.

As in the past, this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report recommends a number of steps that the Government of Liberia can take to improve its ranking. These include, but are not limited to, increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases, including internal trafficking cases and officials accused of complicity; training law enforcement and judicial officials on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases under the 2005 anti-trafficking law; amending the 2005 anti-trafficking law to remove the requirement of force, fraud, or coercion in child sex trafficking cases; prescribing penalties for adult trafficking that are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with the penalties for other grave crimes; and expanding victim services—particularly for victims located outside the capital, males, and victims requiring long-term care.

The Embassy commends civil society organizations for their active involvement in reporting potential trafficking cases and coordinating services for potential victims, especially the Association of Female Sociologists of Liberia, Community Watch Forum, Defense for Children International, National Concern Youth of Liberia, Orphan Relief and Rescue, Samaritan’s Purse, THINK Liberia, World Hope International, and YWCA Liberia.

Although progress on TIP must be led by the Government of Liberia in partnership with civil society, the U.S. Embassy remains committed to providing appropriate support. For example, with funding from the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) has developed TIP curricula for the Liberian law enforcement and judicial sectors, including a bench book for judges, a handbook for prosecutors, and training for law enforcement officers.

The Trafficking in Persons Report is an annual report mandated by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000. It is compiled by the Trafficking in Persons Office of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. using information from U.S. embassies, government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, published reports, news articles, academic studies, research trips to every region of the world, and information submitted to tipreport@state.gov.

 

The United States is committed to objectively assessing government’s efforts, including its own, to meet the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each country is ranked on one of four tiers:

Tier 1 – Countries whose governments fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Tier 2 – Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Tier 2 Watch List – Countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and for which:

 

-Writes GDJ

 

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