BEIRUT: United States Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly called Wednesday for punishing individuals involved in human trafficking in Lebanon, a statement from her office said.
“[U.S.] urges Lebanon to fully implement Law 164, which criminalizes trafficking in persons, to ensure those involved in trafficking are prosecuted,” Connelly said following a meeting with Lebanon’s Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi.
Although Law 164, passed several years ago, criminalized human trafficking, there are still frequent reports of women being trafficked into the country.
Connelly urged the government and security services to work with civil society and other partners to provide appropriate assistance and protection to trafficking victims and to take measures to prevent the exploitation of domestic workers and other trafficking victims.
“The ambassador encourages efforts by Lebanon’s criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute those involved in human trafficking,” the statement said.
The ambassador’s statements came a day after a draft decree to regulate the employment of female migrant domestic workers in Lebanon was discussed by key stakeholders at the Labor Ministry.
There are approximately 200,000 domestic migrant workers in the country and no specific law to oversee their labor rights, leaving them open to exploitation with no real option for legal recourse.