The U.S. Department of State has released its 2014 Trafficking in Person (TIP) report on Liberia and has praised Liberia for making substantial progress in combatting human trafficking although it says more work still needs to be done.
The report says Government of Liberia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but that it is making significant efforts to do so.
The report praised Liberia for an increased number of investigations and prosecutions of alleged trafficking offenses, and convictions of foreign traffickers compared to the previous reporting period.
The report noted that the government has adopted a national action plan to combat human trafficking and has dedicated funds to implement the plan over a five-year period.
It said, however, that Liberia remains a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The report said most trafficking victims originate from and are exploited within the country’s borders, where they are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, sex trafficking, or forced labor in street vending, rubber plantations, and alluvial diamond/gold mines.
The report said that a small number of Liberian men, women, and children are subjected to human trafficking in other West African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
According to the report, victims of transnational trafficking come to Liberia from neighboring West African countries, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and Nigeria, and are subjected to the same types of exploitation as internally trafficked victims.
During the reporting period, women from Tunisia and Morocco were subjected to sex trafficking in Liberia.
Despite the country’s significant internal trafficking problem, the report notes that Liberia has not convicted a Liberian for trafficking in persons.
The report recommends that the Government of Liberia continue to prosecute, convict and sentence traffickers, with a focus on prosecuting Liberian traffickers. It called for vigorous investigation, prosecution, and conviction of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.
The report urged the Liberian Government to provide additional training to law enforcement officials and magistrates to apply anti-trafficking laws and to distinguish trafficking crimes from cases of human smuggling or kidnapping.
The report calls on Liberia to educate representatives of non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies, courts, and other government agencies on the “Direct Assistance and Support to Trafficked Victims Standard Operating Procedures,” so that they learn to proactively identify and provide protective services to trafficking victims; create and adequately fund a shelter specifically for trafficking victims; and increase efforts to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments in the fight against human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.