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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                             

Republic of Liberia

Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, some have returned. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products - primarily raw timber and rubber.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Liberia

Liberia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims are trafficked within the country, primarily from rural to urban areas for domestic servitude, forced street vending, forced begging by religious instructors and sexual exploitation in brothels or private apartments. Children may also be trafficked for labor on rubber plantations and in alluvial diamond mines. Some children in Liberia are subjected to sexual exploitation by international peacekeeping troops and personnel from international organizations.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out ta later country report here and possibly a later, full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Liberia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to verify their authenticity or to validate their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


The Promised Land

Ira Berlin, The New York Times, May 02, 2004 -- Review of the book, MISSISSIPPI IN AFRICA by Alan Huffman

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Of the many tragedies set in motion by the enslavement of African people in the United States, few are more sorrowful than the history of Liberia.

Rather than ending slavery, Liberia became both a place of enslavement and a host to other forms of coerced labor that differed from slavery in name only. The immigrants and their offspring mercilessly exploited the indigenous African population.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Liberia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 14 June 2021]


Forced labor, including forced child labor, occurred. Families living in the interior of the country sometimes sent young women and children to live with relatives, acquaintances, or even strangers in Monrovia or other cities with the promise the women and children would pursue educational or other opportunities. In some instances these women and children were forced to work as street vendors, domestic servants, beggars or in commercial sexual exploitation. There were also reports of forced labor on small rubber plantations and artisanal mines.


Child labor was widespread in almost every economic sector. In urban areas children assisted their parents as vendors in markets or hawked goods on the streets. There were reports that children tapped rubber on smaller plantations and private farms, which exposed them to hazardous conditions involving use of machetes and acids. Children also worked in other conditions likely to harm their health and safety, such as rock crushing or work that required carrying heavy loads. Children were engaged in hazardous labor in alluvial diamond and gold mining, which exposed them to heavy loads and hazardous chemicals. Children were also engaged in agriculture, hunting, and fishing. Some children in Monrovia, particularly girls, worked in domestic service after being sent from rural communities by their parents or guardians. There were also reports of children working in auto shops.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Human trafficking for the purpose of forced labor and prostitution remains a problem, with most victims trafficked from rural areas to cities. Many trafficking victims are children, who can be found working in diamond mines, agricultural operations, or as domestic laborers, or engaged in forced begging or prostitution.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 18 April 2019]

[accessed 1 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 613]

Liberian children are sometimes victims of human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic work, forced begging, and forced labor in street vending, alluvial diamond mining, artisanal gold mining, and in the production of rubber. Children are also trafficked from Liberia to Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. (6; 8) Research found that there is a difference in child labor activities in rural communities, compared to urban communities. (13) Children in rural communities, like Margibi County, engage in rubber tapping and coal burning activities to a greater degree, whereas children in cities and surrounding urban communities, particularly Monrovia and the communities in Montserrado County, crush rocks, work in homes, and sell goods. (13) The government has yet to collect comprehensive data on child labor activities to inform policies and social programs. (7).

A Study on Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation within th Gulf of Guinea countries

James Okolie-Osemene PhD, Department of International Relations and the Director of Research and Linkage Programme, Wellspring University, Nigeria

[Long URL]

[accessed 14 February 2022]

The objectives of this study are to situate and examine the context, nature and networks of human trafficking for sexual exploitation around the Gulf of Guinea in order to identify the intersection between the sources, transit and destinations of the illicit trade, interrogate the human rights implications of human trafficking for sexual exploitation around the countries of the Gulf of Guinea on the one hand, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the anti-trafficking activities on the other hand.

Amnesty International Calls for UN Resolve, Sufficient Peacekeeping Presence to Ensure Fulfillment of Liberia's Peace Accords

Amnesty International USA, New York, December 18, 2003

[Last accessed 18 February 2011]

Only the deployment of sufficient numbers of troops with logistical support by UN member states will provide the protection that civilians so desperately need.  An Amnesty International delegation that traveled to Liberia in November found that civilians live in fear of increasingly undisciplined and desperate groups of armed fighters who continue to kill, rape, and use men, women and children as forced labor.

The Guns are in the Bushes - Continuing Abuses in Liberia [PDF]

Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, January 2004

[accessed 29 August 2011]

IV. ABUSES BY ALL THREE FACTIONS - FORCED LABOR - An employee of a church group noted that There’s a lack of food in the area to feed the fighters, that’s why this forced labor is happening. If people refuse, they are humiliated, beaten, tied, and tortured.

Amnesty International Report 2008 - Liberia

Amnesty International USA, Annual Report, Human Rights in Liberia 2008

[accessed 18 February 2011]

SECURITY SECTOR REFORM - Deficiencies in the judiciary remained a huge challenge. Court officials administered rules and procedures in an inconsistent manner, failed to observe basic human rights standards and engaged in corrupt practices. Although state prosecutors are assigned to every circuit court, the majority of the circuit courts did not have defence counsels. Trial by ordeal – a practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused is determined by subjecting them to a painful task – remained in wide practice in rural areas. Few improvements were made in the juvenile justice system during the year.

Amnesty International Report 2004 - Liberia

Amnesty International, Annual Report, Report 2004 -- Covering events from January - December 2003

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

CIVILIANS TARGETED IN ARMED CONFLICT - Civilians lived in constant fear of undisciplined armed groups who killed, raped, forcibly recruited children and looted. After the peace agreement, violence increased in some areas as command structures broke down and combatants made last-ditch attempts to seize territory and property before deployment of UNMIL forces. The gravity of abuses against civilians prompted an emergency report by the Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 8 August which described the grievous abuses against civilians and called for international support in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, including those who had been internally displaced and Sierra Leonean refugees, by government, LURD and MODEL forces were widespread. Young women and girls were abducted and forced into sexual slavery.

UNMIL’s Crackdown on Trafficking Puts Women at Risk

Refugees International, 05/10/2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

In Liberia, crime has returned with vigor after the civil war. In addition to street crime and burglary, there are increasing reports of Ukrainian and Moroccan women being trafficked into Monrovia to serve as prostitutes in popular bars that double as brothels. The UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, says it is taking the problem seriously. UNMIL’s Civilian Police (CIVPOL) has hired an officer to address human trafficking. However, by not coordinating her efforts with NGOs and other supporting organizations, her independent actions may actually be exacerbating the problem.

Child Soldiers of Liberia

Liberian Educational Achievement Foundation LEAF

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

The people of Liberia were harassed and intimidated by the different factions. Civilians were repeatedly robbed and murdered. During the seven year war, villages and towns continually changed hands, and each time a new faction moved in, they would plunder, torture and commit atrocities.  Many children were forced to join one of the warlords. Their parents, siblings or other villagers would be tortured until they agreed to join.


Liberian Educational Achievement Foundation LEAF

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 8 September 2011]

Robert (14 years old) - ``I became a combatant in 1991 when I was 8 years old.  I became a fighter because I felt that my friends and my parents were suffering

Tom - ``I joined when I was 13 years old. I was just forced to fight because I was separated from my parents and the rest of my family. I had to fight for my own survival.

Mr. George (13 years old) - ``I joined by force. I was living with my parents in the village and one of the factions captured the village and said all the young boys in the town should join them.  Some of us said we didn't want to join them, but they started to hit us with a gun. Most of them were very, very, very bad people.

US names human trafficking offenders

BBC News, 12 June, 2003

[accessed 18 February 2011]

FORCED INTO PROSTITUTION - He added: "It is... morally unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are exploited, abused and enslaved by peddlers in human misery."  Apart from Greece and Turkey, the other major offenders named were Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Suriname, and Uzbekistan.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 2004

[accessed 18 February 2011]

[58] The Committee notes that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 18 August 2003 recognizes the special demobilization and reintegration needs of child combatants. However, the Committee expresses its extremely deep consternation at the very high number of children who have been forcibly recruited into armed forces and armed groups by all parties involved in the conflict, including children as young as nine years old. The Committee is also concerned that these children have been forced to carry goods and weapons, guard checkpoints and often fight in the front line, while girls have been raped and forced to become servants of the soldiers as well as combatants.

The Protection Project – Liberia [PDF]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 13 February 2019]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – NGO estimates of the number of persons trafficked to the country during the year ranged between 20 and several hundred. Victims were trafficked within the country and from neighboring countries for prostitution and labor. Young children were at a particularly high risk for trafficking, especially orphans or children from extremely poor families. Trafficking victims were often subjected to harsh living and working conditions.

There were reports of forced labor; however, none had been confirmed. There also were reports of the recruitment of child soldiers, but the reports had not been confirmed, and the matter was under investigation at year's end.

Traffickers enticed their victims with promises of a better life. Parents of trafficking victims were persuaded that their children would have better food and educational opportunities in another country and that they would eventually return home.

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