By Isha S. Mansaray
The Minister of Labour and Social Security has lifted the temporary ban placed on labour migration in February 2019, said deputy Minister of Information and Communications Mamadi Gobeh Kamara at the weekly government press briefing held in the ministry’s conference room at Youyi Building in Freetown.
According to her update, the ban was constituted to contain uncoordinated and unregulated issues facilitated by nonregistered and underground agencies.
After several complaints from constrained Sierra Leonean workers about their foreign employers, with most of the complaints coming from illegal, unregistered migrants overseas, the Minister of Labour in 2018 formulated a Migration Labour Policy.
Some of the complaints raised by Sierra Leonean migrant workers were that; most of them got thrown out in the streets by their employers and abandoned by their agencies; some due to verbal, physical and even sexual abuse. Sometimes, it’s either their employers don’t pay them in full or not at all.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security in 2018 formulated the Migration Labour Policy for the protection of Sierra Leonean migrant workers. In the policy document, one of the key goals in forming this policy is to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people including the implementation of planned and well managed migration policies.
According to Madam Mamadi’s update, the ministry has been working tediously to put in place mechanisms to ensure safe, orderly and regulated labour migration.
Meanwhile, she also gave an update on the first set of migrants expected to leave the shores of Sierra Leone.
“The Minister of Labour said the first batch of 1,000 Sierra Leoneans will be departed in May 2021.”
Consequently, during the COVID 19 outbreak in 2020, the ARM (Anti-Racism Movement) conducted an assessment on 53 female Sierra Leonean workers in Lebanon. According their findings, these women had undergone several challenges in the hands of their Lebanese employers, with the majority of them experiencing physical, verbal and sexual abuse. Some even got thrown out into the streets by their employers.
ARM also discovered salary payment challenges, as most of them worked without being paid.