The Press Union of Liberia has ended a week long Community Media Forum on Trafficking in person and Land Rights in Sinoe and River Cess Counties.
The forums are part of the USAID Media Activities managed by the Internews Liberia and conducted by the Press Union of Liberia
The Community Media Forum was held in Greenville and Cestos Cities on July 8 and 11, which brought together experts in TIP and Land Rights, Lawyers and Civil Society
The CMF are being conducted to shed light on governance topics and provide the platform for ordinary people to speak directly to their leaders under the USAID Media Activities
The themes for the both forum have been: “Enhancing Public Awareness on Trafficking in person” and ‘Creating Public Awareness on Land Rights and Conflict Prevention’.
Making remark at the Forum opening PUL Assistant Secretary General, Akoi M. Baysah, Jr., indicated that the forum was organized by the Press Union of Liberia as one of its activities being implemented under the USAID Media Activities through Internews.
The PUL Assistant Secretary noted that Internews is currently running the USAID Media Activities for the next five years which the Union is a part of.
Issue of Trafficking in Person and Land Rights Governance are trending matters that could lead to a situation of chaos if not handle properly.
Participants in Sinoe at the Trafficking in Person forum have attributed the level of trafficking of Liberians in and out of Liberia to what they referred to as the high level of poverty.
According to them, most victims usually accept being taking to foreign countries in search of greener pasture due to the prevailing hardship without knowing that they are going to be used for profit making heartless individuals who have absolutely no respect for their fellow men.
The Greenville participants expressed frustration over the altitude of some family members who take relatives children under the pretend of taking them to urban areas for education, termed the act as complete cruelty that have drastic penalty to discourage people attempting the practice.
The participants mostly women told the TIP forum that they’ve in recent years come to understand that several relatives who took children to urban areas did not say the truth to their parents before taking them away.
They want parents releasing their children to family members for education in urban communities to make it their business to do regular follow ups on the status of their children since insincerity is on the increase.
The participants further expressed their satisfaction for the forum and called for more similar ones to assist families understand the true picture of the things that happen to kids and other family members travelling out of the country in search of greener pasture.
They promised to serve as ambassadors in their respective communities in educating on how people are being trafficked under the pretend of lifting them from hardship and poverty.
However, Ministry of Justice’s representatives at the forum encouraged parents to report any forms of trafficking in persons in their locals for prompt actions adding, that the fight against human trafficking can only be possible when residents and the security sector work in partnership.
The MOJ’s representative assured that whistle blowers identities would be kept secret for their safety and protection.
Meanwhile, in furtherance Residents of Cestos City, Rivercess County also embraced the idea of land Rights Education in the County, calling it safety to avoid conflict.
At the program marking a one day Land Rights Forum on June 11, 2022, participants including youth, women, organizations and the physically challenged, said the forum afforded them an opportunity to understand more land issues in the country.
They think the forum was a help and timely because there were more land crisis in the country including River Cess County. For the women, they expressed their willingness to always attend every forum on Land Rights in the country to fully understand women rights to land and land related matters.
According to them, the forum has helped broaden their knowledge on how women can acquire land and have shares in lands belonging to their families.
The physically challenged voiced out that, it was important for inclusiveness in land Rights matters so as to have them part take and make contributions. They are of the conviction that that their participation in crucial discussions on Land Rights and conflict prevention must not be overlooked. Whereas, youth at the forum said they have been placed in a better position to understanding the dos and the don’ts in acquiring land in Liberia.
They want Land Rights education to be taught in school, flyers printed and stickers distributed for more awareness. They thanked the forum organizers and termed it a life time knowledge event.
CMF is being conducted in four counties including Sinoe, River Cess, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties with funding from USAID.