Liberia: Court Gives Man Six Years for Human Trafficking


BOPOLU – The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County has brought down Mr. Anthony Sumo guilty for human trafficking.

Mr. Anthony Sumo was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 by Assigned Circuit Court Judge, His Honor Joe S. Barkon.

It can be recalled that in February of year Mr. Sumo was arrested at the Salayea Check point in Bong County while attempting to traffic 22 children from Gbarpolu County.

The trial of Mr. Sumo and Co-defendant Madam Elizabeth McCree started in November of 2021, but Madam McCree was granted bill to travel due to illness. As a result, Mr. Sumo was accorded a separate trial which produced witnesses from the State and defendant.

However, on Thursday, December 9, 2021, Star Insurance Company produced the living body of Madam Elizabeth McCree before the Court as it was mandated by the Court.

Court has at the same time schedule the trial of Madam McCree to January of 2022.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has welcomed the sentencing of Mr. Anthony Sumo for the act of human trafficking describing it as, a major achievement in the fight against human trafficking.

Minister Gibson said that the taskforce is committed to winning all of the ongoing trafficking cases currently being heard in Monrovia, Gbarpolu and Grand Gedeh Counties and soon to start in Voinjama, Lofa County.

In a related development, of Liberia today, Sunday, December 12, 2021 held an emergency meeting on the situation of Liberian women in Dubai and Oman.

The primary objective of the meeting was to consolidate information and a response to what is obtaining in Dubai and Oman with regard to Liberians that have been found in difficult situations with those that transported them with the hope getting employment and finding greener pastures.

Unfortunately, they have been abused and ill-treated in all manner and forms.

The meeting which was held at the Ministry of Labour, Ministerial Complex in Monrovia was attended by, the Chairman of the Trafficking Taskforce, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Willamette Saydee-Tarr, the Commission General of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Col. Robert W. Budy, Deputy Foreign Minister, Cllr. Dewery Gray, Assistant Justice Minister, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, the Commander of the Special Unit on Human Trafficking at the Liberia National Police, among others.

The meeting resolved that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue a Note Verbal to the Government of Oman and to the Liberia Mission at the United Nations expressing the concerns of the Government of Liberia for her citizens in Oman and asking them to ensure that those affected are rescued and those who inflicted injuries on them are prosecuted.

The meeting also resolved that the movement of Liberians to Oman and Dubai will henceforth be restricted by the LIS and LNP. 

The Chairman of the Taskforce, Cllr. Gibson said that the Government of Liberia is embarking on a program to ensure that the women are returned to Liberia and those who were involved in their recruitment in Liberia are prosecuted.

He spoke of plans to commence efforts through the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the women are brought back to Liberia.

Briefing the meeting, the LNP spoke of a situation where two Liberian females were trafficked to the Ivory Coast, but through help of the LIS and LNP they were rescued and returned to Liberia. The LNP furthered informed the Taskforce of four females who were recently prevented by LIS officers at Roberts International Airport (RIA) attempting to travel to Oman.

Speaking furthered, Cllr. Gibson calls for collaborations among partners, especially LIS and LNP to ensure that these illegal movement of persons are curtailed.

Section 44.1 (a) of the Decent Work Act states that “No person or association shall recruit any Liberian for employment either within or without the Republic unless such person or association be in possession of a license granted under the provisions of this part”

Minister Gibson said that to apply for said license, one must prove certain guarantee to the Ministry of Labour that these persons being recruited for foreign employment are done in good faith and if any incident, the recruiter will be responsible to ensure that those persons are returned to Liberia and are saved and not abused.

Also during the meeting, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Williamette Saydee-Tarr informed the Taskforce that during her recent visit to Dubai, in a meeting with the Liberian Community, they revealed that there are Liberians in that country experiencing similar situations. She said that the Liberians told her that they were recruited in Liberia and transported to Dubai to serve as housemaid, but are being ill-treated, abused and under-paid. They want government help them come home.

Meanwhile, consistent with Section 44.1 of the Labor Law of Liberia, Ministry of Labour will issued out Standing Order #3 on Recruitment of Liberians for Employment in Foreign countries.