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CenHTRO Strengthens Anti-Trafficking Stakeholder and Partner Relationships in Sierra Leone

Thursday, March 24, 2022


CenHTRO traveled to Sierra Leone in late February and early March to strengthen relationships with anti-trafficking stakeholders and continue capacity building efforts with our implementation partners in the West African country. 

Attending the National Conference on Trafficking in Persons, organized under the theme “Strengthening National Frameworks and Stakeholder Networks to Stop Modern Slavery,” served as the main purpose of the visit. 

Conference photos

The goal of the conference was to build stronger partnerships among anti-human trafficking stakeholders in Sierra Leone. Prominent stakeholders attended and spoke to renew their commitments to combating trafficking in persons. President Julius Maada Bio delivered the keynote speech, during which he unveiled a dedicated anti-trafficking hotline with a toll-free number. The President also recognized CenHTRO Director Dr. David Okech by name, noting the impact of our research on the country’s anti-trafficking efforts. First Lady Fatima Maada Bio gave a goodwill message and expressed her support of ongoing efforts to combat TIP.

CenHTRO staff played key roles in the conference. Director Dr. David Okech gave opening remarks and a research presentation, “Providing and Managing Trafficking Data for Policy Development and Program Intervention,” which highlighted findings of CenHTRO’s baseline report for Sierra Leone. 

Assistant Director Dr. Claire Bolton worked closely with Sierra Leone Country Coordinator Umaru Fofanah to plan and prepare CenHTRO’s contributions to the event. Fofanah also helped plan the conference in-country with the national TIP Secretariat, Ministry of Social Welfare, and Office of the Vice President. Fofanah and Miriam Fullah, Shelter Manager at CenHTRO implementing partner World Hope International (WHI), co-presented on “Protecting Children Against Human Trafficking and Child Labor in Sierra Leone.”

conference photos

Other speakers included UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mohamed Lamin Tarawally, Minister of State Francess Piagie Alghali, Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne representing the ECOWAS Commission, Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone Claire Buckley, and Deputy Chief of Mission (U.S. Embassy Freetown) Elaine French.

Sierra Leone TV and print media covered the conference. Following the conference, the Good Morning Sierra Leone program on the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation invited Fofanah to discuss the nature of trafficking in Sierra Leone.Fofanah was given the opportunity to discuss the findings in our baseline report, “Child Trafficking and the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Sierra Leone.”

conference photos

Eastern Province Key Partner Meetings

Following the conference, the CenHTRO team traveled to Kenema and Kailahun in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone to meet WHI’s field officers and other key stakeholdersIn these meetings, stakeholders unanimously offered their support of the implementation project. 

Read more about our PARC-TIP project with WHI. (PDF)

The team met with newly appointed Resident Minister East, Rtd. Col. K.E.S Boya. They also met with Assistant District Officer in Kenema Emmanuel Kamara and Chiefdom Administration Officer Edmond Boucarie, two officials intricately linked to CenHTRO and WHI’s community awareness and policy implementation efforts local authorities like Paramount Chiefs. 

conference photos

In Kenema, the team met with Paramount Chief Foday Stephen Faba of Dodo Chiefdom, who discussed some of the challenges he encounters as a traditional leader within his community due to the lack of resources.

In Kenema and Kailahun, CenHTRO met with District Council Chairmen: Mohamed O’Level Sesay (Kenema) and Sahr A.K. Lamin (Kailahun). As top elected officials in their districts, the support of the council chairmen is essential to our project’s success. 

conference photos