BEIRUT: U.S. Ambassador Maura Connelly called Wednesday for punishing those engaged in human trafficking, a statement from her office said.
The “[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 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 assist and protect victims and to take measures to prevent the exploitation of domestic workers.
“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 was discussed by key stakeholders at the Labor Ministry.
There are approximately 200,000 domestic migrant workers in the country and no law to oversee their rights, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 28, 2013, on page 4.