‘Women Voices Must Be Heard’ – Liberia Women Forum
Monrovia – The Vice President of the Liberian Women Forum (LWF), Mrs. Kadi Coleman-Porte has called for the voices of women in Liberia to be heard across the country.
Mrs. Porte stressed the need for women’s issues to be highlighted and called on government and international groups to provide protection for Liberian girls and women globally. The LWF Vice President also called for justice for the Liberian girls who were taken to Lebanon.
Recently, the Government of Liberia through the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force announced that the 14 young Liberian ladies who were repatriated from Beirut, Lebanon will be immediately re-integrated into the society.
It can be recalled that 14 Liberian ladies were recruited and allegedly trafficked to Beirut, Lebanon about three years ago by some Lebanese businessmen.
The suspected perpetrators in the trafficking case, including Messrs R. Bashir Lakis and Abbas EL Debes and their absconded collaborators were tried in camera at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The case resulted in a hung jury.
According to a release from the Ministry of Labour, the Government through the Ministry of Justice will remain in contact with the ladies, pending the rescheduling of a new trial.
But LWF Vice President Kadi Porte noted that much has not been done to bring justice to the girls. “Our girls from Lebanon are being abandoned and they are crying for justice, we need to fight for the rights of girls and women in this country,” she noted.
Speaking recently when a group of Liberian women, headed by officials of the Liberian Women Forum, staged an awareness march in Monrovia, Madam Porte also spoke about another march the LWF is organizing in the USA and all across Liberia.
During the march recently, the women ended at the Capitol Building where an official statement was delivered by the President of the LWF, Madam Gurly Gibson.
“Today, we have come together for our collective voices to be heard,” she said. “Liberian women and girls, we appreciate and salute you for taking this giant step. Our movement has begun, and so we thank all of you for coming, including our friends and all supporters of women’s issues in Liberia and worldwide,” she noted.
Madam Gibson noted that the movement is for all women to work together to highlight women issues, empower themselves, advocate for women rights and protections; and ensure that Liberia become better for children and grandchildren.
“We formed the Liberia Women Forum (LWF) so that we can promote women empowerment and economic issues; help remove our mothers, sisters, and daughters from the streets into transitional homes and to enable them regain their dignity; provide psychosocial counseling, and skills training and education support; advocate and protect the rights of our mothers, sisters, and daughters from sexual exploitations, sexual violence and harassment at work places and in the communities; encourage women to get involve in public policy initiatives, and thereby, engage policy makers; help find employment opportunities for our mothers, sisters, and daughters and work with our partners to fight job discrimination; fight for social justice, human rights, and the protection of the girl child,” she noted.
She noted that the Liberia Women Forum is here to stay and awaken the consciousness of women and girls, saying women are the backbone of every society, and yet the women of Liberia have been disenfranchised.
“We gave them our votes and what they did? They kicked our issues under the table. Enough is enough! Today, we are calling for social justice and economic justice for women and girls of Liberia.”
” We are saying enough of the trafficking of our Liberian girls, enough of the sexual violence against women and girls, enough of the discrimination, enough of the intimidation,” she continued. Madam Gibson said their awareness began in March in Monrovia, saying the LWF will take it to every part Liberia.
“We will march in the United States of America. As I speak, we are organizing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland, Providence, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts, and Minneapolis, Minnesota,” she disclosed.
She said they will march to the White House like they did in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Madam Gibson however noted that the LWF will march until women and girls of Liberia are given the opportunity to live.