The Centre on Human Trafficking Research and Outreach (CenHTRO), a global organization dedicated to combating human trafficking and related problems, recently released a report stating that Sierra Leone has maintained its tier 2 ranking.

The 2023 TIP report by JTIP presents in-depth analysis and recommendations for four countries within CenHTRO’s scope: Senegal, Malawi, Zambia, and Sierra Leone.

The team conducted a thorough assessment of the achievements, obstacles, and proposed strategies for future endeavors.

From the various reports on different countries, Sierra Leone’s report according to them reads;Sierra Leone retained its ranking of Tier 2. The report highlights the Government of Sierra Leone’s successful prosecution of traffickers, a result of CenHTRO’s program to provide legal aid to survivors. The report also recognized the passage and enactment of the new Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Act of 2022, which CenHTRO closely supported during its development. The act increasesing penalties for trafficking crimes and removesing the option for a fine in place of imprisonment for convicted traffickers. However, the report indicated significant shortcomings in the West African country’s anti-trafficking efforts:

Sierra Leone convicted fewer traffickers and identified fewer victims than years prior. 

Victim services remained “woefully inadequate.” 

The Government of Sierra Leone did not provide financial support to civil society organizations to provide services. 

The report prioritizes a series of recommendations for Sierra Leone to improve anti-trafficking efforts. Among those that reflect CenHTRO’s work to strengthen regional coordination and combat child trafficking in the country’s Kambia, Kailahun, Kenema, and Kono districts are: 

Expand victim protection services for all trafficking victims– including shelter for male victims. 

Train police, prosecutors, and judges to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases under the Anti-Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Act of 2022. 

Coordinate with regional governments to prosecute transnational cases, coordinate victim protection, and prevent trafficking. 

Improve data collection on anti-trafficking law enforcement and victim assistance efforts. 

CenHTRO’s work in Sierra Leone directly addresses these recommendations by expanding victim services outside of Freetown, training law enforcement and judiciary, and supporting regional TIP coordination across the West African region”