MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Labour, has handed over sixteen (16) Sierra Leonean nationals trafficked in Liberia to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for repatriation.
The sixteen Sierra Leoneans are expected to return to their country and reunite with their families on Thursday, August 25, 2022.
The sixteen people, 14 men and 2 women, were allegedly tricked into Liberia in the name of processing their documents to travel to Malaysia, using Liberia as a transit point.
They were trafficked and extorted by fellow Sierra Leoneans who are agents of Q-net, a criminal network involved in the illegal trafficking and movement of people in the sub-region which took the sum of US$1,200 from them. each of their victims. The victims were promised to travel to Malaysia and other Asian countries for jobs, education and a better life, but were exploited by Q-net agents operating from Liberia. They have been in Liberia since March and were lured into the country by their traffickers.
Speaking at a well-organized handover ceremony in Monrovia, the Chairman of Liberia’s National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, Minister of Labor Cllr. Charles Gibson said the victims were rescued by the Liberia National Police and handed over to the task force earlier this year.
He stated that approximately seven (7) perpetrators who are also agents of Qnet were arrested, tried and sentenced in accordance with the Trafficking in Persons Act of Liberia.
Minister Gibson confirmed that the Government of Liberia has spent over US$50,000.00 to have its traffickers prosecuted and to keep the 16 in the safe home of the National Anti-Trafficking Task Force people from Liberia.
Meanwhile, Cllr. Gibson disclosed that each of the victims will receive a reintegration package of USD 1,500 to reintegrate them into society through various commercial means like homecoming provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Receiving the Sierra Leonean victims of trafficking, the representative of the International Organization for Migration, Mr. Workapoe Workanuan, informed the media professionals that the victims will be placed in a place of safety with the IOM during their stay in a five-star hotel in Liberia until they are taken home. country (Sierra Leone) on Thursday.
Also speaking at the handover ceremony in Monrovia, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador to Liberia, Amb. Jonathan Saffia thanked the government of Liberia for saving and taking good care of its citizens.
“The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Labour, has done an exceptional job of taking such good and brotherly care of these victims and on behalf of the people and government of Sierra Leone, we say thank you to the government of Liberia for such commitment”, Amb Saffia.
Ambassador Saffia further recounted the cooperative working relationship between the two countries.
Speaking on behalf of victims of trafficking, Mr. Santigie M. Sesay acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the Liberian government to ensure that they are safe and brought back to their country.