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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08MONROVIA1041 2008-12-17 11:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Monrovia
Cable title:  

BAD TRAFFICKING PRESS CAUSES GOVERNMENT ACTION

Tags:   PHUM PGOV PREL SOCI CVIS LI 
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VZCZCXRO8356
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHMV #1041 3521142
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171142Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MONROVIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0629
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS MONROVIA 001041 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL SOCI CVIS LI
SUBJECT: BAD TRAFFICKING PRESS CAUSES GOVERNMENT ACTION



1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Recent negative press in the international and
local media about trafficking cases and the badly regulated adoption
system has spurned government action. The Minister of Labor held a
special anti-human trafficking taskforce meeting on November 29 to
develop a new draft strategy, which was approved on December 5, and
to review existing cases. The President had tasked Minister Woods
to be more directly involved with the taskforce, which falls under
his ministry. Post is hopeful that this is the impetus for the
taskforce to become more proactive in the fight against human
trafficking. END SUMMARY.



2. (U) Minister of Labor Kofi Woods, under pressure from the
President, called an emergency meeting of the anti-human trafficking
taskforce on November 29, which PolOff attended. A new draft
strategy, which was approved by the Minister on December 5, will
focus the taskforce in four areas: prevention and awareness raising,
law enforcement, legislative and legal frameworks, and victim
protection and assistance. The strategy requires different
government agencies (Justice, Labor, Liberia National Police (LNP)
and others) to work more closely and share information on
trafficking cases. The strategy also proposes an executive order to
ban inter-country adoptions until a new adoption law can be passed
by the legislature.



3. (U) At the November 29 meeting the secretariat reported the
arrest of Francis Doegboyou for alleged trafficking of 30 - 50
children within Liberia. The children were taken from the Peace
Orphanage Home in Monrovia by the LNP and members of the taskforce.
Doegboyou had promised the parents of the children that he would
sponsor and educate them for 10 years. In exchange the parents gave
him 750 Liberian dollars (12.50 USD). He is currently being held at
Monrovia Central Prison. The children are being housed at a local
NGO, Don Bosco Homes, until the investigation is completed and the
children can be returned to their parents. While they are there the
Woman and Child Protection Unit of the LNP is providing protection,
the Ministry of Education is coordinating the children's schooling
in Monrovia and in the counties when they return home. Save the
Children UK is tracking down their parents.



4. (U) Three other cases were discussed. In the first, Lofa County
officials are investigating the legitimacy of an Islamic school in
the county where 50 children are living. The second involves a
child from Guinea who was being brought for sale by two Guineans who
were arrested by law enforcement in Lofa. The government is working
with the Guinean government to repatriate the child. The third case
involves a school in Grand Cape Mount County that is being
investigated for possible trafficking.

5.(U) COMMENT: A recent BBC radio report and article on adoptions
from Liberia, which portrayed the adoption system in a negative
light, seems to be the impetus for the meeting and new strategy.
The Minister indicated at the meeting that the President was
following the issue closely. The anti-human trafficking task force
seems eager to tackle the trafficking and adoption issues. The
taskforce, which PolOff is a member of, has been meeting since 2006
but only started holding monthly meeting in 2008. Until now the
taskforce has concentrated on awareness raising and tracking cases.
Hopefully the focus on investigations and arrests will lead to
convictions under the trafficking in persons law enacted in 2005 and
to a more urgent focus on the need to reform adoption law and
procedures.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD