Liberia: Winrock/ATLAS Joins Fight Against Child Labour And Human Trafficking

MONROVIA – A six-day enforcement training for the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Services (LIS), Labor Inspectors of the Ministry of Labor, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA), CSOs and Social Workers of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection has ended in Monrovia. The training was organized and implemented by Winrock ATLAS project in partnership with Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB) with funding from the United States Department of Labor (USDOL).

Winrock International (Winrock), in partnership with Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB), is implementing a demand and evidence-driven project financed by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) titled Attaining Lasting Change for Better Enforcement of Labor and Criminal Law to Address Child Labor, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking (ATLAS) with the overall goal of strengthening the capacity of government to address child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in Liberia. To do so, ATLAS works towards two interrelated outcomes: (1) Strengthen labor and/or criminal legal frameworks concerning child labor (CL), forced labor (FL), and Human Trafficking (HT); and (2) Improve enforcement of the labor and/or criminal legal framework, specifically related to child labor, forced labor, and/or human trafficking.

Speaking during the closed of the six days training, the Country Manager of Winrock-ATLAS project in Liberia, Mr. James Yekeh, said that ATLAS works towards two interrelated outcomes: (1) Strengthen labor and/or criminal legal frameworks concerning child labor (CL), forced labor (FL), and Human Trafficking (HT); and (2) Improve enforcement of the labor and/or criminal legal framework, specifically related to child labor, forced labor, and/or human trafficking.

Mr. Yekeh said that in addition to activities to support the Child Labor Division and the Anti-human Trafficking Division of  the Ministry of Labor, the Winrock ATLAS project will participate in the dissemination and awareness raising of the newly amended TIP Law of 2021 for Liberia, carry out advocacy through a working group for the endorsement of the hazardous and light work lists for Liberia’s children and the enactment of amendments to the Decent Work Act (DWA) under chapter 21 and the children’s Law of 2011.

Mr. Yekeh further noted that the ATLAS project is also implementing three key capacity building activities referred to as Differentiated Model of Practices (DMOPs) in Liberia which include: (1) Support to the Child Labor Monitoring System, (2) Training of Trainers (TOT) Training Program for Grassroots and Local Actors and (3) Enforcement Training Program (ETP)

“The recent enforcement training which lasted for 6 days, built the capacities of beneficiaries in identification, investigation, and referral of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking cases.

59 beneficiaries from the Ministries of Labor, Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOCSP), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Agriculture, CSOs and INGOs benefited from the Winrock ATLAS enforcement training program” Mr. Yekeh said.

The Winrock/ATLAS Country Manager alluded that Winrock is in Liberia to support the effort of the government and not to run a parallel program. He said that Winrock is committed to providing training for the Ministry of Labor, especially the National Commission on Child Labor and the TIP Section of the Ministry to ensure continuity and sustainability of the ATLAS project activities in Liberia.

Mr. Yekeh added that currently, there is a consultant that is developing SOPs which is expected to be completed soon and validation will be done by key partners including the Ministry of Labor to enhance support for the Child Labor Monitoring System (CLMS) in Liberia.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Labor, the Inspector General D. Eric Kpaiyea thanked the United States Department of Labor and Winrock, the international facilitators of the Lawyers Without Borders for the opportunity provided Inspectors of the Ministry of Labor and other Agencies of government as well as CSOs for benefiting from such an enforcement training.

He said that the training has helped to build their capacities in the areas of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking monitoring noting it has been an eye-opener for Labor Inspectors and other beneficiaries.

“On behalf of the Minister of Labor, Cllr. Charles H. Gibson, the deputies, and staff of the Ministry of Labor expressed their happiness for the conduct of the training and expressed their preparedness to work with Winrock and Lawyers Without Borders in combating child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking” the Labor Ministry Inspector General said.

Also speaking during the close of the training, Ms. Roberta S. Freeman thanked the Winrock/ATAS project and the Government through the Ministry of Labor and partners for the training noting that it has afforded them the opportunity to learn new things and will enable them to impact various communities in Liberia. She assured the organizers of their commitment to implementing the skills learned during the six days of training.

For his part, the Chief Inspector of the TIP Unit of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Joseph B. Washington extended thanks and appreciation to Winrock International, the Facilitators and the participants.

He said that this is the first of its kind since the establishment of the TIP Unit of the Liberia National Police and looks forward to more training saying that everything learned will be fully practiced and implemented by the staff of his unit in handling TIP cases.

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