MONROVIA-United States Ambassador along with the head of the International Development Local Organization (IDLO) in Liberia, have presented the ‘Bench Books’ on trafficking in persons (TIP) to Chief Justice, Francis Korkpor, head of the Judiciary.
The Bench Books on trafficking in person were presented this Monday August 2, 2021.
Bench Books on trafficking were developed by the IDLO consultant in consultation with the James A.A. Pierre Judicial Institute and other national stakeholders.
The Bench Books are intended to be used as a knowledge tool to enhance effective adjudication of TIP cases by Liberian Judges.
Receiving the books, Chief Justice Korkpor thanked the US Government for the gesture noting that human trafficking is new in Liberia in terms of dealing with it and the law controlling.
The chief justice indicated that trafficking in person is a means that involved the most vulnerable group, as such; the need to address it cannot be overemphasized.
The United States Department report shows that large numbers of people in Liberia are trafficked to the urban areas.
In 2005, the trafficking act was enacted and subsequently, passed into law in 2021 based on effort by civil society organizations, judiciary and other stakeholders.
According to Justice Korkpor, because of such effort, Liberia was also removed from the WATCH listing adding that the books will further increase the work they do at the level of the judiciary.
He mentioned that the bench books will also give guidance to county, magistrates and judges in dealing with trafficking cases in Liberia.
Teresa Mugadza, Acting Country Manager International Development Local Organization (IDLO), said the fight against trafficking in person in Liberia needs a collective effort of all Liberians and international partners.
Madam Mugadza said, “It is true that the fight against trafficking in person is making progress, but one of the issues is low rate of prosecution for those who commit these crimes against TIP.”
According to her, “This is an important juncture for all to reflect on the effort that we are making in the joint fight against TIP.”
She furthered, “We need to get the basic tools in order to make this come to an end through a collaborative effort with all partners in Liberia. We are currently working in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh and other parts of the country in putting the menses to an end.”
For his part, US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy asserted that the US Government is interested in working with the Liberian Government through the ministries of Justice, Labor and all actors working in the sectors.
“It is important for the judiciary officials to get involved in the fight against TIP be it prosecuting cases or to train judicial actors in the fight against TIP to also prosecute all those found guilty. He continues “judges and justices have a critical role to play in the fight against TIP because they are the one who interact with us on a daily basis.”
He indicated that the office of Washington is so much concern about the fight against TIP disclosing that the US commitment to working with the national legislature as they have been working with the judiciary to end TIP.