LIBERIA: To Curtail Human Trafficking, Justice And Labour Ministries Issue Standing Order #3

L/R: Cllr. Frank Musa Dean; Justice Minister, and Cllr. Charlie Gibson; Minister of Labour

In order to seriously curtail the crime of human trafficking in Liberia, both the ministries of Justice and Labour have issued Standing Order #3, noting that all Liberians traveling  abroad to work As Domestic Servants   and  any Person or Entities Involved with such ventures.

The order signed by Cllr. Frank Musa Dean; Minister of Justice, and Cllr. Charles Gibson also noted that imposition of a Ninety (90) Day Moratorium on Liberians seeking Domestic Service Employment abroad, effective April 02, 2022.

The  order dated March 31, 2022 said:

WHEREAS, Chapter 44.1 of the Labour Law of Liberia, Captioned: Employment Agency To Be Licensed, provides that “No person or Association shall recruit any Liberian for employment either within or without the Republic unless such person or Association is in possession of a license issued by the Ministry of Labour’’ ,

WHEREAS, it has become evident to the National Anti-Trafficking Taskforce (NATT) that several individuals and/or entities  are involved in the recruitment of Liberians for employment to foreign countries without a license by the Ministry of Labor,

WHEREAS, it  has been determined that such acts are being carried out  by unscrupulous individuals and entities against   vulnerable  members of the  public who are  in desperate search of employment opportunities  in  foreign countries   and   that such  acts are in violation of  both   the Anti- Human Trafficking Law of Liberia and the Labor  Law of Liberia,

WHEREAS,  it as further been  determined that the aforementioned acts have resulted in hundreds of Liberians being Trafficked to the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world, thus subjecting them to untold hardship and harm including, but not limited to forced labor, servitude, slavery ,  slavery-like practices,  sexual abuses and other forms of exploitation (as set forth in Article 1, Section 1, Para. 104 of the Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia (2021),

WHEREAS, the aforementioned acts have caused  and continue to cause reputational inconveniences and financial burden to the Government of Liberia, trauma to the relatives and friends of the  victims , as well as physical and  psychological injuries and financial loses to the victims,

WHEREAS , the National Anti-Trafficking Taskforce (NATT), is charged with protecting Liberians from harm and specifically human trafficking activities,

WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 1, Para 108 of the Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia (2021), defines ‘Servitude’ as a  form of human trafficking which involves “a  condition of dependency in which the labor or services of a person are provided or obtained by threats or serious harm to that person or another person, or through any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if the person did not perform such labor or services,  that person or another person would then suffer serious harm”,

WHEREAS, Article 1, Section 1, Para 107 of the Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia (2021), determines ‘forced labor’ as meaning labor or services obtained or maintained through force, threat of force, or means of coercion or physical restraint,

NOW THEREFORE, with the view to protecting Liberians seeking domestic employment service abroad from abuses and reducing the growing financial burden on the Government of Liberia to intervene in their repatriation, the National Anti-Trafficking Taskforce hereby imposes a ninety (90) day Moratorium on externalization of labor for Liberians seeking domestic service employment outside of Liberia.

EXCEPTION to this order shall exist for persons or entities who legally obtain Written Clearance from the Minister of Labor either  individually  or through a registered and licensed Employment Agency to ensure that those travelling outside of Liberia for employment do not fall prey to criminal gangs, individuals or entities that will exploit their Labor and subject them to acts such as extraction of human parts, sex trafficking and other forms of exploitation noted in the Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia (2021).

During the ninety (90) day period of this Moratorium, the Government of Liberia, through the National Anti-Trafficking Taskforce, shall liaise with line Ministries, Agencies and Departments of Government, local and international partners, foreign governments and domestic and foreign employment agencies to put in place a legal and policy regime to foster externalization of labor for all categories of workers, especially unskilled workers. This regime, when put in place, shall provide adequate protection for Liberians seeking employment abroad specifically on issues such as wages, the physical  and psychological safety of the person, health care/ insurance and guaranteed repatriation at the end of employment services.

Accordingly, any individual, group of individuals or entity caught in breach of this Standing Order shall be denied exit from Liberia and subjected  to possible  prosecution  under the Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia (2021).

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