Sierra Leone: Government and Civil Society Gather to Protect Victims of Trafficking
Makeni City - Every year thousands of young women and boys are trafficked in Sierra Leone for sexual exploitation or forced labour. They are lured from rural destinations into staying with family members in big towns and cities, and promised that they will be taken care of, only to find themselves forced to beg in the streets.
As part of an effort to fight this, 42 Sierra Leone government and civil society representatives attended a training from 26-29 March on the protection of victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIPs).
The training was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs (MSWGCA), to improve the delivery of quality assistance to victims of trafficking.
"Human trafficking is still an important issue for Sierra Leone, and there is no way we can improve service delivery if we do not have trained professionals on the field," said Mr Francis Mohamed Kabia, Director of Social Welfare at MSWGCA.
Sanusi Savage, the IOM Head of Office in Sierra Leone stated: "Migrant assistance is IOM's priority, and we will continue to provide needed capacity building support to Government and other partners to enable them render the required assistance to victims of trafficking in persons."
Ali Martin Sesay represented the Voice of the Blind, an association which advocates for the rights of visually impaired and blind people in Sierra Leone, at the training. For him, the training was a timely opportunity to reflect on protection mechanisms for disabled victims and survivors of trafficking in persons.
"There have been cases when disabled people, especially the blind, are brought from the villages to the cities and are subject to abuse, neglect and exploitation," said Sesay.
The training was conducted through the Africa Regional Migration Programme implemented in Sierra Leone with support from the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
In Sierra Leone, IOM strengthens the technical capacity of identified governmental, nongovernmental and civil society partners to help survivors of human trafficking.