LWOB returns to Liberia to continue Human Trafficking Programming


TRAINING TEAM RETURNS TO LIBERIA
After nearly a year's delay in programming in Liberia due to the Ebola situation, the LWOB team was delighted to return to Monrovia in August to launch its first eLearning programming.  The programming was developed to facilitate training outside major urban areas, equipping our Liberian partners with fully self-administered training materials supplemented by Trainer Manuals and Guides. It was also designed to enable LWOB programming to continue uninterrupted should there be any future obstacles to in-country travel and programming. 
Multiple day-long eLearning sessions were conducted, with 10 attendees each day, each equipped with his or her own pre-programmed lap top.  The majority of the attendees at this session represented members of the NGO community working with victims and was focused on important ways they can intersect with the prosecution and law enforcement, using collaboration and cooperation strategies to improve victim protection and the success of TIP (trafficking in persons) prosecutions. The eLearning was supplemented by hard-copy course materials (graphic novels, RRC's) and LWOB's newly developed board game, "Find Me!"  The eLearning and newly developed materials were all exceptionally well received and are destined to become a regular feature of LWOB programming. 


HISTORY OF LWOB PROGRAMMING IN LIBERIA:

Our work in Liberia follows LWOB's completion of a  large scale project meeting a need identified in its assessment three years ago for a cumulative index to the entirety of Liberian case law. Having worked with over 100 lawyers at Linklaters indexing all Liberian case law LWOB was well positioned to incorporate Liberian case law into its programming. LWOB is pleased to report that the LWOB/Linklaters/Thomson Reuters collaboration on the Liberian Digest project started years ago, continues, now underwritten entirely with in-kind pro bono support. It  is possibly one of the most important examples of the pro bono paradigm that inspired LWOB's founding fifteen years ago. It is a testament to the power of pro bono collaboratives and sustainability. 

Two trial advocacy trainings in Liberia are now complete (2010, 2013). Those trainings taught standard basics in trial advocacy in a customized, created for and by LWOB, mock trial scenario based upon a Liberian trafficking in persons prosecution. LWOB incorporates its own version of the NITA "learning by doing™" approach in the trial advocacy modules which involve taping, reviewing and critiquing lawyers direct and cross examination, opening statements and closing arguments. NITA supports the LWOB  programming with the donation of its Modern Trial Advocacy text books, trainers and underwriting support. 

In 2010, LWOB partnered with the Avon Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School to develop and deliver trafficking-specific modules which included an overview of Trafficking and the role and use of international conventions and obligations in a trial. LWOB tapped into portions of  the UNODC Toolkit as a resource and guide. Additional LWOB materials were created to  compliment the UNODC Toolkit as well.

LWOB integrated its own signature special challenges modules on substantive and evidentiary issues using avatar technology donated to LWOB by Oddcast.com.  That portion of the program included evidentiary demonstrations and programming designed to illustrate  "best practices" in victim pre-trial interviews and investigation and witness preparation as well as actual Liberian cases illustrating rules governing such issues as witness voir dire and the child as witnesses.   The program was supplemented with community oriented materials created by lawyers at Linklaters LLP who worked with LWOB's graphic artist to create two illustrated publications featuring best practices for the practitioner working on TIPS issues and educating citizens to recognize trafficking situations and rights and resources for the person victimized by trafficking. 

Click here to view the illustrated publication "Understanding Human Trafficking" created for the Liberian Bar: Human Trafficking - Liberia - Illustrated graphic novel .  A second publication accompanied by a trainer manual has been completed and distributed to lawyers and judges throughout the country that focuses on the lawyer/judge interaction with victims of human trafficking that come before them. The third in a series of four (4) graphic novels is scheduled for distribution at the 2014 training and the fourth in the series will be distributed at the 2015 training. They involve the police investigatory phase of trafficking prosecutions and the trafficking trial.

In 2013, LWOB's training included, for the first time, 20 law enforcement personnel and connected their important role in the investigatory stage to successful prosecutions in Court. LWOB's work in Liberia for the next three years is funded by a grant from the JTIP department of the United States Department of State. Interim police trainings will continue throughout the life of the grant. Two additional large-scale trainings integrating all the stakeholders in human trafficking prosecutions,  are now scheduled for late 2014 and spring 2015.

Current pro bono partners working on materials for those trainings include the lawyers from Linklaters, who now enter their fourth year of work with LWOB on human trafficking in Liberia and McDermott Will & Emery's London office which completed LWOB's first human trafficking publication educating youth to dangers that expose them to potential trafficking scenarios. . Lawyers from Pfizer, Jones Day and Shearman & Sterling  rounded out the 2013 training team. 

The Fall 2015 team, delayed by the Ebola emergency,  will again be led  by Hon. Virginia Kendall (DC Ill) a federal judge recognized internationally for her work in human trafficking and will include partners from several international law firms in a supportive relationship with LWOB. Lawyers at Linklaters have completed the fourth in a series of Human Trafficking Graphic Novels that will be integrated into the eLearning as well as distributed in hard-pring.

LWOB has received a small funding award that will support mass production and distribution of the educational  board game  FIND ME! Distribution will launch, in Liberia, in the summer of 2015. LWOB will also introduce the game at a convening of several state stakeholders during international human trafficking event sponsored by the ILO in May 2015. Organizations interested in purchasing a copy of the Human Trafficking Training board-game should reach out to LWOB at info@lwob.org  with the words FIND ME! in the subject line. 

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