Liberia: Govt, IOM Repatriate 16 Trafficked Sierra Leonians
MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Labour, has turned over sixteen (16) Sierra Leonean nationals who were trafficked to Liberia to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for repatriation.
The sixteen Sierra Leoneans are expected to return to their Country and reunite with families on Thursday, August 25, 2022.
The sixteen persons, 14 males and 2 females, were reportedly deceived and brought to 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 Leonians who are agents of Q-net, a criminal network involved in the trafficking and illegal movement of people in the sub-region which took the amount of 1,200 USD from them each of their victims. The victims were promised to travel Malaysia and other Asian Countries for employment, education and better living but were exploited by agents of Q-net operating from Liberia. They have been in Liberia since March and lured into the country by their traffickers.
Speaking at a well organized turning over ceremony in Monrovia, the Chairman of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia, Labour Minister Cllr. Charles Gibson said the victims were rescued by the Liberia National Police and turned-over the Taskforce earlier this year.
He said that about seven (7) perpetrators who are also agents of Qnet where are arrested tried and sentenced in line with Trafficking In-Persons Law of Liberia.
Minister Gibson confirmed that, the Government of Liberia made expenses of over US$50,000.00 to their traffickers prosecuted and to maintain the 16 at the safe home of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce of Liberia.
Meanwhile, Cllr. Gibson disclosed that each of the victims will receive a reintegration package of 1,500 USD to reintegrate them into society through various business means as return home provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Receiving the Trafficked Sierra Leoneans, the International Organization for Migration representative, Mr. Workapoe Workanuan informed media practitioners that the victims will be in safe keeping with the IOM while staying in a five-star hotel in Liberia until they’re taken back to their home country (Sierra Leone) on Thursday.
Also speaking at the turning over ceremony in Monrovia, the Deputy Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Liberia, Amb. Jonathan Saffia thanked the Government of Liberia for rescuing and well taken care of his citizens.
“The Liberian Government through the Ministry of Labour has done exceptionally well by taking good and brotherly care of these victims and on behalf of the people and Government of Sierra Leone, we say thanks to the Liberian Government for such a commitment”, Amb Saffia.
Ambassador Saffia further recounted the cooperative working relationship between the two count ries.
Speaking on behalf of the trafficking victims, Mr. Santigie M. Sesay acknowledged and appreciated the Liberian Government for the efforts in making sure that they are safe and taken back to their country.