By Bill W. Cooper
The United States Ambassador, Michael McCarthy has hailed the Liberian government for the passage and signing of the “Revised Trafficking in Persons” Act of 2021 something he said brings Liberian law in line with international standards.
Recently, the plenary of the House of Representatives concurred with the Liberia Senate to ban Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and smuggling of migrants within Liberia following a report from its joint committees on Labor, Judiciary, National Security and Gender, Children and Social Protection, on the Senate’s Engrossed Bill#5.
The Bill is titled: “An Act of the National Legislature to amend certain provisions of the Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia, of July 5, 2005; also known as the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2005; and the Act to amend the Penal Law regarding Extortion, Environmental Crime, and Illicit Trafficking in Human Beings and Migrants Smuggling, 2012, (Approved April 29, 2013); to bring the 2005 Act in compliance with International Standards and in Conformity with all other Treaties signed and ratified by Liberia.”
Repealed: The Act shall be known and titled as “The Revised Act to Ban Trafficking in Persons within the Republic of Liberia, of September 2021 or short title as Revised Trafficking in Persons Act of 2021.”
The Act is however, expected to take effect immediately upon the affixing of the Liberian leader’s signature and subsequent publication in the handbill by authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In an interactive media engagement with a team of reporters yesterday at his U.S. Embassy office in Monrovia, the U.S. Ambassador pointed out that TIP is a worldwide problem which is not only unique to Liberia and as such, each country has a responsibility to combat the global scourge.
According to him, the new legislation is important because Liberia was downgraded to “Tier 2 Watchlist” in its 2021 report, stressing, “As important as this legislative action was, it will not by itself ensure that Liberia is removed from the Watchlist.”
“This is significant, because countries on the watchlist may be automatically downgraded to Tier 3 if they do not show progress. U.S. foreign assistance to Tier 3 countries is significantly restricted, and that is the last thing we want to happen here,” he intoned.
Ambassador McCarthy further assured that as long as the Liberian government is making an effort to combat the scourge of human trafficking and child labor, the U.S. government will continue to support those efforts, adding, “We are providing technical assistance such as embedded advisors, training, and advice and continued active participation in the Ministry of Labor’s National Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce.”
“Since 2005, the United States has committed more than US$149 million to support civilian security and justice sector programs. These programs increased the capacity of Liberia’s civilian security agencies and the Ministry of Justice to maintain peace and stability in Liberia and to become a more effective partner with the United States and other West African countries,” he alluded.
Meanwhile, Ambassador McCarthy has urged the media community to increase their reporting on TIP, averring, “Dedicate reporters to the TIP beat, create databases of arrests, report on individual cases as they go to court, and know that all trafficking cases are newsworthy.”
“Not every case labeled a trafficking case qualifies as such; some may be cases of illegal adoption; for instance, just make sure you are doing your due diligence, questioning all of the parties involved and reporting the facts,” he said.
McCarthy Hails Govt’s
Passage Of Revised TIP Act
By Bill W. Cooper